The Trevor Project: www.thetrevorproject.org

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth aged 13-24. Crisis intervention is available 24/7 with a phone hotline called the Trevor Lifeline, a free, confidential, secure instant messaging service called TrevorChat, and a free, confidential, secure texting service called TrevorText. The creators of the 1998 Academy Award winning short film “TREVOR” founded the organization.

 

In addition to the help lines, The Trevor Project offers suicide prevention trainings and resources including free online modules called the Lifeguard Workshop, CARE (Connect, Accept, Respond, Empower) Training, Ally Training, and training for campus faculty. Print and digital resources are available for download. The organization also runs a blog, puts on events, and produces innovative research and evaluations crises services.

 

The Trevor Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit, which means that it relies on donors for financial sustainability. Additionally, they have Corporate and Foundation Partners that provide grants, event sponsorships, programmatic financial support (such as Wells Fargo, Coca Cola, AT&T, etc.). Celebrities often donate large sums of money to The Trevor Project. Recently, Alicia Keys donated a million dollars to be divided by 12 non-profits, The Trevor Project being one of them. One of the board members is Adam Shankman (an openly gay choreographer, director, and TV personality). In order to have such high-profile donors, members of the board must be well connected.

 

Though The Trevor Project has operating headquarters on the coasts in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, and Washington DC, it has cultivated an expansive network of LGBTQ advocacy groups by officially partnering with organizations across the country such as GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, ReachOut.com, and Teach for America. Additionally, to reach regions between the coasts, the Trevor Ambassadors are “key volunteer groups in 7 major U.S. cities who work to expand Trevor’s program, communications and fundraising efforts to new geographic areas” (The Trevor Project, 2017).

 

Over 16 years of existence, The Trevor Project has grown substantially. In 2013, they conducted a comprehensive crisis service to figure out how to progress adequately. They gathered their donors, staff, board members, volunteers, partner organizations, and many LGBTQ youth and disseminated surveys and held focus groups to provide feedback. They created a very attractive and organized plan entitled “The Trevor Project’s 3-Year Strategic Plan.” It consists of 4 strategies to improve and develop: 1) Crisis Services (e.g., continue to embrace new technology and offer expanded services in the channels where young people are most likely to ask for help), 2) Life-Affirming Resources (e.g., continue to make an effort to help as many LGBTQ youth who need non-crisis support), 3) Education (e.g., educating communities, including young people and those who interact with youth, about LGBTQ-competent suicide prevention, risk detection, and response), and 4) Advocacy (e.g., increasing and supporting governmental funding opportunities for LGBTQ youth mental health services).

 

 

SPART*A: www.spartapride.org

SPART*A (Service Members, Partners, Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All) is an American support group for LGBT members of the military (either current or former), their families, and veteran and uniformed allies founded in 2013. They advertise a willingness to work with allied groups and organizations as well. They work to strengthen a culture of diversity and inclusion in the United States military in addition to educating key stakeholders and public about LGBT issues, specifically ones that uniquely impact those in the military world. The organization’s mission is to “advocate for and support our actively serving LGBT military members and veterans, and their families, while working to ensure the military provides equal opportunity for all service members regardless of race, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity” (SPART*A, 2013). The boards and leadership teams include members from all branches of the military (e.g., Navy, Air Force, Army)

 

The website includes a number of news stories to disseminate information and narrative experiences about current transgender soldiers and same sex benefits. There are also a number of press releases about SPART*A’s take on current events such as 9/11, words of the Secretary of Defense, and their stance on Private Chelsea Manning. Those who are members of the organization can receive legal referrals, direct peer support, professional development and networking, and learn about policy advocacy. It is unclear whether any military branches support SPART*A financially. There is an area of the website where donations can be made. There are members of the board who are in charge of securing various grants.

 

There had previously been an organization called OutServe Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) that aimed to represent transgender military members. However, there was a forced resignation of the leader, which led to the dissolve of the organization, with claims that the interests of transgender military members were not represented appropriately. SPART*A was then formed to be more inclusive and representative where OutServe SLDN could not.

 

 

 

MINGLE: https://mingle.org

Mission Statement: “MINGLE the first of its kind in India, is a Gay and Lesbian non-profit think-tank and advocacy group consisting of academicians, students and professionals from fields as diverse as the Arts and Sciences, Journalism, Law, Medicine, Management and Engineering. Its vision is a truly liberal and pluralistic India where all citizens enjoy their fundamental right to lead a secure and dignified life irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

 

Mingle is an India-based awareness and advocacy group for LGBT individuals. It is largely volunteer-run and supports itself through donations and sponsorships. This organization actively seeks to partner with other already existing organizations. For the past three years, Mingle has hosted annual LGBT youth leadership summit in Mumbai, India (the organization’s headquarters) that seeks to identify and train LGBT youth to be leaders and advocates in their communities. 35 participants are selected from a pool of applicants, and all costs (transportation, food, accommodations) are covered by Mingle and other sponsors. Note that “youth” in India has a different meaning – the summit is for any LGBT-identifying individual between the ages of 18-28. The organization has a 2,340-follower Facebook page that was last updated on September 30th of 2016 and a 32-follower Twitter account that was last updated on the same day.

 

The organization restricts its stated advocacy to the LGBT community, which leaves questions of how inclusive it is of more broadly identified individuals. No reference is made to other gender/sexual identities, and the organization seems to focus on young adults. Mingle does not appear to be a non-profit organization, though it is volunteer-driven, which is often an important distinction for an organization to make in terms of taxes, motivations, and support.

 

 

TRIKONE: www.trikone.org

Mission Statement: “Trikone offers a supportive, empowering and non-judgmental environment where LGBTQ South Asians and their allies can meet, make connections, and proudly promote awareness and acceptance of their sexual identity.

 

Trikone works towards:

  1. Bringing people of South Asian heritage and their allies together
  2. Promoting awareness, visibility, and cultural and legal acceptance of people with alternative sexual orientations and gender identities
  3. Helping people to proudly affirm both their South Asian identity as well as their sexual orientation

Trikone actively works against all forms of oppression based on race, gender, religion, class, sexual orientation, and other identities. Through our award-winning magazine, conferences, cultural events, film festivals, pride celebrations, and a host of other collaborative programming, Trikone works hard to nurture and empower the LGBTQ South Asian community in the Bay Area and their allies across the globe.”

 

Trikone is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that reaches out specifically to South Asian LGBTQ individuals. This organization publishes a magazine and newsletter that feature book and film reviews, memoirs, and other articles that is published electronically and distributed to and receives contributions from individuals all over the world. Trikone also has a 24-hour Desi hotline that individuals can call for support and community. This organization provides support directly to individuals in the Bay Area through conferences, support groups, participation in events, and other on-site programming, but they also provide resources, information, and support for Desi LGBTQ families and friends around the world. Trikone is a volunteer-based organization that subsists on donations and support from individuals, corporations, businesses, and foundations. The site has an updated and informative blog that features articles specific to the LGBTQ community and South Asians individuals. Trikone also provides a host of resources in the form of other sites and organizations that are organized by region and country. It has both Facebook and Twitter, and both were last updated in November of 2016.

 

This seems to be a very established organization that provides a wide range of information and resources to a very broad and international demographic. Their resources are non-age-specific, and they even include information in other languages. They do not make any references to a broader spectrum of gender/sexual identities beyond LGBTQ, however, which could make the organization appear limited in their inclusiveness.

 

 

The NWA Center for Equality: www.nwaequality.org

The NWA Center for Equality, a seemingly unobtrusive building, is located at 179 N Church Ave (corner with Spring St) in Fayetteville. The phone number is (888) 391-9222. The NWA Center revolves around a grassroots community and advocacy organization that works to promote and achieve equality. It does this by creating a welcoming and accessible environment that supports members of the LGBTQA community.

 

The NWA Center is a registered non-profit organization that is funded through grants as well as individual and group donations. Most grants have come from the Walmart Foundation, NWA Giving Grant, and HIV/AIDs Prevention and Education. In 2016 they were predominantly funded by the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Grant and Northwest Arkansas Pride, with which they merged in 2015. They have a five-member Board of Directors as well as seven staff volunteers.

 

Annually, the NWA Center for Equality provides free HIV/AIDS education, confidential HIV testing through NWA Hope, and outreach services to over 5,000 people in Benton and Washington counties. They also offer a variety of peer to peer support groups meeting once or twice a month. Groups include addiction recovery, coming out, faith and spirituality, and survivors of suicide loss. Trans-masculine, trans-feminine, and transgender and gender queer peer support groups meet once a month on Sundays.

 

As described on their website, the NWA Center for Equality was founded in 2006 by concerned citizens understanding the importance of organized support and advocacy for the LGBTQA community. They moved to their current location in 2009. Their main tenets are advocacy, education, and service with goals consisting of equality and inclusion.

 

The NWA Center for Equality does not jump out as an obvious LGBTQIA advocacy organization. In particular there is absolutely no reference to intersex people, which may make them feel alienated. The address can be found by clicking Programs and looking under NWA Hope. The phone number was provided via google, as it was nowhere to be found on the website. The NWA Center did not list an annual budget.

 

 

The San Francisco LGBT Community Center: www.sfcenter.org

The San Francisco LGBT Center is located in the heart of San Francisco at 1800 Market Street, on the corner with Octavia Blvd. The front desk can be reached at (415) 865-5661; the main line is (415) 865-5555.

 

The Center’s main purpose is to connect the diverse community with opportunities in order to create a stronger, healthier, and more equitable world for the LGBT community and their allies. The Center has four clearly stated strategies: foster greater opportunities for people to be successful, organize for the future, celebrate LGBT history and culture, and build awareness and resources in order to create a legacy of support and advocacy for generations to come. Connecting LGBT people, according to the Center, is paramount in securing equal rights.

 

The Center understands the need for a continuous support system aimed at serving members of LGBT communities. It prides itself on being the physical and spiritual home of LGBT culture and stresses its importance as vital to the survival and to the identity of the LGBT community. The Center also serves people of color, youth, elders, immigrants, low-income individuals, as well as transgender, lesbian, and bisexual women.

 

The Center offers free career counseling, internet access, job fairs, social events, mentorships, meals for youth, day care services as well as various workshops. Economic development programming helps LGBT job-seekers find safe and adequate employment, supports LGBT and LGBT-run businesses, and ensures transgender people economic success through the Trans Employment Program. Health and wellness programs include mental health services, sexual and/or domestic abuse, general health access, and HIV/AIDS education and testing. Childcare services are provided to LGBT families six days a week. There is a queer youth prom and free meals for marginally housed youth. Art exhibits and collaborative programs are hosted to increase the visibility of LGBT artists and provide a public space to show their works. The solar powered, 35,000 sq. ft., recently renovated building hosts 12-step meetings, town halls, lectures, and readings. Groups ranging from 10-400 people can rent space. Rebecca Rolfe has been the executive director of the SF LGBT Center since 2008. Other members of the executive team identify as people of color and transgender. There is a 15-person board of directors, 20 staff members, and over 700 community volunteers that actively engage in education, advocacy, and service.

 

The most recent budget listed is 2012-2013, where 55% of its $2 million budget went to economic development, children, youth, families, community and policy initiatives. 23% went to the Charles M. Holmes Campus of the Center, located in the Castro district and 22% went to development and administrative costs.

 

While offering many resources to a plethora of individuals, there is still no talk of intersex. The events calendar, specifically the youth calendar, has not been updated since October of last year.

 

 

Rainbow Law: Get All Your Ducks in a Row: www.rainbowlaw.org

Though not a law office, Rainbow Law has been providing legal documents for the LGBTQ community since the early 90s.  Users can order state-specific documents from sperm-done contracts to advance directives and wills. The website even offers a survey to help users figure out what documents they might actually need (which is helpful, because who actually knows what sort of paperwork you need to get old or have kids?)

 

Rainbow Law offers single documents, pre-assembled packages, and consultations so that users can assemble a package that best fits their needs. The single will package, for example, includes:

  • a Last Will,
  • Advance Directives (Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney),
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances,
  • HIPAA form,
  • Disposition of Remains,
  • Hospital Visitation form,
  • Final Arrangements form,
  • Guidance for Health Care Agent form,
  • instructions for your executor,
  • instructions for finalizing your documents,
  • revocation, resignation and acceptance documents and
  • miscellaneous supporting documents.
  • For folks with kids, this package also includes documents for children:
    • Nomination of Guardian,
    • Authorization to Consent to the Medical Treatment of a Minor Child,
    • Parenting Agreement,
    • Sperm Donor Contract

Don’t get too excited, these packages aren’t free. Though arguably more affordable than seeking out a lawyer and facing potential discrimination.

 

Another extremely useful bit of information is a complete run down of laws that impact the LGBT community cataloged state-by-state.  For Arkansans, the site warns that “although the US Supreme Court has held that the federal government cannot discriminate against gay and lesbian couples legally married and living in a state that recognizes that marriage, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples living in Arkansas are not legally recognized as spouses even if they were married in a marriage equality state or country.”

 

This resource alone is invaluable, especially for folks that are looking to move and may not be abreast to each-and-every piece of state legislation.

 

Rainbow Law also has resources such as:

  • Directory of LBGT Businesses, organizations, and services
  • Free eBooks
  • Gift Certificates

Unfortunately, I am not quite sure how up-to-date the website is kept. The latest blog entry is from June. Esthetically, the website is simple, likely a WordPress-style medium.  Given the current political climate, I hope this organization keeps up its good work and stays up to date!

 

 

The Gayly: www.gayly.com

Gayly is your one-stop-shop for LGBT news. Gayly is a complete online newspaper out of Oklahoma City and includes articles for any-type of reader.  In the “News” section, readers can find articles about Federal abuse reports, local discrimination, upcoming ice storms, and Trump’s Ethics council. In the Arts and Entertainment section, readers can read about Willie Nelson, Spiderman, and Meryl Streep. In the “Health” section, a powerful article is published moments ago titled “It’s 2017 and people continued to be infected.” The HIV columnists reminds readers that HIV is still real and is still not talked about as openly as it should.

 

One of the most interesting aspects of the newspaper is the staff. There are two Transgender columnists, Allison Blaylock and Amanda Kerri. Both writers speak from their personal experiences as transwomen and offer valuable insight for the paper’s readership. The paper also includes voices of color and sections devoted to Black LGBT issues, HIV, and queer. These columns, however, do not seem to be as active or up-to-date as other sections of the paper. Readers are able to register and submit questions directly to each columnist.

 

On the right-hand side of each individual landing page are three pink tabs: 2016 Election, Equality Legislation, and Trans Rights. Each story is sourced from other media sources and provides information of interest updated in real time. The most recent story in the 2016 Election category, “Trumps Pentagon pick cruises toward likely confirmation” was updated 33 seconds ago. What a fabulous choice of words.

 

The most important aspect of this paper is the space it has created. LGBT issues are not lost in the pages of mainstream media, sensationalized on Facebook, or neglected all together. Is the information bias? Of course. The important part, however, is that it exists. Readers are able to subscribe, follow the paper on social media outlets, and remain up-to-date. Is this paper all-inclusive? Well, no. As I scanned the articles, I did not see an abundance of diversity in its photos or much representation from rural communities. However, since it seems as though the articles are compiled from other news sources, this is not overly surprising.

 

 

The Center for Artistic Revolution (CAR): www.car4ar.org

The Center for Artistic Revolution (CAR) is a social justice nonprofit based in Little Rock, Arkansas, working with both LGBTQ people and straight allies since 2003. Its mission is to fight for equitable access to fair treatment, a democratic political process, and economic and environmental justice statewide, and the crucial modes of its activism are community work and creative self-expression (hence its name). Although CAR is primarily queer-centric, the organization does a lot with race-based activism, especially for queer people of color in the community. The CAR describes itself as “inclusive [and] intergenerational” on their website, and its board, headed by José Gutiérrez, and community reflects this diversity.

 

One of the many exciting things about CAR is the number of programs and events it offers to queer youth, the largest portion of their community base. The Diverse Youth for Social Change (DYSC) is their largest program, an activist group that provides opportunity for friendships and mentorships as well as developing leadership and advocacy skills, encouraging civic participation, and encouraging self-expression through the arts. I have friends who have worked with the DYSC closely, and each one is amazed at the strong and positive effect CAR is having on queer youth in the area. CAR also does training for school faculty, helps supports local Gay-Straight Alliances (my high school’s GSA wouldn’t exist without the help of CAR), and has Latinx Revolución LGBTQ specifically for queer Latina/o/x youth in the area.

 

Their work is primarily funded through donations as well as events like Corazón, a silent auction of local artists’ work, and their fundraising performance show, Big Gay Variety Show. To get involved or donate, find them on Facebook or go to their website.

 

 

Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees: www.irqr.ca

On an international level, the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (inspired by the United States’ Underground Railroad) is a Canada-based charity that helps the LGBT population looking for asylum from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria as they go through a lengthy and confusing resettlement process. Many on its board (including the Executive Director and founder Arsham Parsi) have themselves been through the resettlement process, and they use those experiences to help those who have applied for asylum in Turkey, Canada, and the United States.

 

The IRQR provides dozens of consultations per week for asylum seekers and helps hundreds of applications a year pass through the United Nations’ three-year process. It also provides, through donations, financial support to refugees for basic necessities, like shelter and food. The IRQR’s work fights against the risks of poverty and deportation so refugees aren’t sent back to the deathly anti-queer environments of their home countries.

 

The IRQR website has multiple (tax deductible!) ways of donating to its work and can best be reached by email.

 

 

Pridecorps: pridecorps.org

Pridecorps: LGBT Youth Center of Arkansas helps young people ages 13-20 network and establish connections and friendships with peers, educators, religious leaders, health care providers, and other community leaders.  They provide a safe place where adolescents and young adults can be themselves, make friends, and have fun.  Their mission is to celebrate, support, and empower LGBTQ youth.  It was formed in August 2014, by Jon Etienne Mourot.

 

Membership to Pridecorps is free, and meetings are held on the second, third and fourth Saturday of each month at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock, AR.  They offer fun activities for members such as bowling and mini golf, yoga and tai chi sessions, cooking classes led by a Cordon-Bleu trained chef, and dream workshops.  The following activities will be held this month (January 2017): 14th-Pottery Workshop; 21st-Giant Origami Workshop; 28th-Pottery Workshop.

 

Pridecorps offers members a safe place to take part in facilitator-led group discussions on these topics: coming out and disclosure; substance abuse; mental health; suicide prevention; bullying and harassment; self-esteem; safe sex, HIV and STI prevention; wellness and nutrition.

 

You can support Pridecorps by volunteering or donating, and the registry for each is found on their website pridecorps.org.

 

 

Campus Pride: www.campuspride.org

Campus Pride is a nonprofit organization helping to build future leaders and safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities.  They offer a program called Campus Pride National LGBTQ-Friendly College Fair where students and members can find information on events held all over the country.  In 2016 there were events in Charlotte, NC; St. Louis, MO; Atlanta, GA; Vancouver, WA; and New York City, NY.  They have a similar program for job and career fairs.  Dates and times are updated regularly on the website calendar.

 

Another item on the menu is the Campus Pride Index.  Here, future students can search a list of higher education institutions with LGBTQ-friendly campuses and utilize college prep resources.  You can search by region, state, index rating, institution type, or locale.  This database is supported by the Campus Pride Q Research Institute for Higher Education.

 

As part of the organization, the Campus Pride Speakers Bureau highlights artists, entertainers and speakers that represent various topics surrounding the LGBTQ community.  You are asked to book a speaker through the website by filling out an online request form.  Talk Topics include Ally Awareness, Bisexual Awareness, Hate Crime Prevention, Live Music and Spoken Word Entertainers, Queer People of Color, and various others.

 

If you would like to develop your social justice and leadership skills, you can register for Camp Pride, the nation’s premiere LGBTQ Leadership Academy for undergraduate LGBTQ and ally students.  The mission of this week-long summer camp is to build leadership capacity among LGBTQ and ally undergraduate college student leaders and to create safer and more inclusive campus communities in the United States.  Full and partial scholarships are available on a limited basis.

 

Campus Pride utilizes the time, talent and skills of students, faculty, staff and educators to fulfill their mission of creating safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities.  They are located in Charlotte, NC, and interested parties who would like to volunteer are encouraged to submit an online application form for opportunities to help the organization continue to grow in the supporting the needs of LGBTQ and Ally student leaders and campus groups.

 

For more information, visit their website at www.campuspride.org.

 

 

World Professional Association for Transgender Health (Los Angeles, California): http://www.wpath.org

Overview

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, interdisciplinary professional and educational organization devoted to transgender health. Our professional, supporting, and student members engage in clinical and academic research to develop evidence-based medicine and strive to promote a high quality of care for transsexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming individuals internationally.

 

This site is to provide access to healthcare related information. Individuals can find information on healthcare providers by state, conferences, and resources. Also, provides the Standards of Care and Ethical Guidelines, an important document written for practicing individuals in the field of transgender health.

 

Funding

Funding is primarily through the support of membership, and through donations and grants sponsored by non-commercial sources. Student membership is $35 annually. No annual report is provided for the general public.

 

Mission

Mission is to promote evidence-based care, education, research, advocacy, public policy, and respect in transgender health. to bring together diverse professionals dedicated to developing best practices and supportive policies worldwide that promote health, research, education, respect, dignity, and equality for transgender, transsexual, and gender-variant people in all cultural settings.

 

Goals

As an international interdisciplinary, professional organization, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) will work to further the understanding and treatment of gender dysphoria by professionals in medicine, psychology, law, social work, counseling, psychotherapy, family studies, sociology, anthropology, sexology, speech and voice therapy, and other related fields.

 

WPATH provides opportunities for professionals from various sub-specialties to communicate with each other in the context of research and treatment of gender dysphoria including sponsoring biennial scientific symposia.

 

Public Resources

Ethical Guidelines for Professionals

WPATH provides comprehensive Ethical Guidelines concerning the care of patients with gender identity disorders. The new guidelines, which apply to all WPATH members, were adopted in August 2016.

 

Establishing Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorders

WPATH has established internationally accepted Standards of Care (SOC) for the treatment of gender identity disorders. These internationally accepted guidelines are designed to promote the health and welfare of persons with gender identity disorders. The Standards of Care are updated and revised as new scientific information becomes available.  This information comes at no cost to the general public and available through the website.

 

Organization is not for the general public; only available for graduate students/professionals who can (or have the potential to) contribute to the field of transgender health.

 

 

National Center for Transgender Equality (Washington D.C.): http://www.transequality.org

Overview

Transgender people, and the issues they face, are under-studied because surveys of the general population rarely ask whether a respondent is transgender. However, there are tested survey questions about a person’s gender identity and transgender status that belong on government and other general population surveys, and NCTE continues to press for the inclusion of these questions. In addition, researchers must conduct more transgender-specific surveys so that the issues transgender people face are understood more deeply.

 

NCTE is a source for the general public. There is not a membership prompt for using the information, but a donation link is provided for users. A weekly newsletter is provided on the site as well through email subscription. The newsletter provides information regarding media coverage, healthcare, educational resources, and politics.

 

Funding

Primary funding through public/private grants and individual contributions. The expenses for each fiscal year go towards salary, taxes, benefits, consultant fees, and large event expenses.

 

Mission

The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people.

 

By empowering transgender people and our allies to educate and influence policymakers and others, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear voice for transgender equality in our nation’s capital and around the country.

 

Public Resources

Primarily provides information for transgender individuals regarding legal, health, and medical related information. NCTE offers conferences and consultations for individuals seek legal help in varying matters for transgender persons. A blog is written frequently providing information about public and private sector matters. General information for educators, family members, and allies are available through the site.

 

 

Queer Nation: http://queernationny.org/

LGBTQIA advocacy organizations continue to fill a crucial role for standing up against oppression for LGBTQIA folks. There are a number of organizations across the globe, but I have decided to highlight two American coastal organizations, Queer Nation in New York City and the Queer Cultural Center in San Francisco.

 

Queer Nation was founded in New York City in 1990 by four member of the historical activist group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power). Part of their mission is to eradicate homophobia and increase LGBT awareness and visibility. Queer Nation was a very active activist group in the early 1990’s, often embracing and displaying the phrase, “We’re here, we’re queer! Get used to it!” While Queer Nation was once an active activist space and organization, it seems over the past twenty-six years have become significantly less involved within the community. They exist instead on a Tumblr page on the Internet. Their Tumblr page, “Queer Nation NY,” does not have new content beyond items published five to six months ago. The last few posts have showcased protest signage, carefully curated depictions of marches and protests within the city of New York, and texts urging visitors to their Tumblr page to boycott Russian vodka. Unfortunately, it seems Queer Nation have let their activism slip and have instead adopted a much more passive role, giving the appearance of activism through a combination of strategy and a reliance on past activism of the early 1990’s.

 

Queer Nation’s performative activism is unsettling, especially considering the looming inauguration of President Elect Donald Trump into the White House who has gathered arguably one of the most openly anti-LGBTQIA and racist and misogynist cabinets in recent history. I believe that it is the role and responsibility of historic activist groups such as Queer Nation to rise to the occasion and continue to resist, teaching a younger generation the complexities and care of successful activism.

 

 

Queer Cultural Center: http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/

The Queer Cultural Center was founded in San Francisco in 1993 as an inclusive arts space meant to hold and showcase work made by queer artists. The organization is still very involved with the community today, offering education opportunities, overall community, and contemporary art dialogue within the queer movement, aiming to contribute to a more multicultural view of the LGBTQIA experience.

 

QCC is funded through city-allocated funds as well as through private funding. They have twelve people currently sitting on the Board of Directors that fund numerous public events that oversee programs such as the National Queer Arts Festival Program (NQAF), Creating Queer Community Program (CQC), and the Healthy Community Arts Program. The NQAF is an annual festival held during Pride month in June that features visual art, dance, music, poetry, film and theater in a multitude of spaces across San Francisco. The CQC is a standing grant artist may apply for to fund individual projects. Five individual grants are awarded each year to artists whose work exemplifies the fluid and intersecting nature of identities. The Healthy Community Arts Program focuses on healthful living for LGBTQIA artists that include lectures and workshops about medical and mental health, addiction issues, individuals living with life long and/or life-threatening diseases, and healthful living as associated with sex work. QCC seems to exceed its expectations laid out in its mission statement. It truly seems like an active and inclusive community of artists that not only offers financial support but mental and physical support as well.

 

While QCC’s activism does not look like the LGBTQIA protest-based activism of the 1980’s and 1990’s, I believe the queer artist-centered organization is just as important to maintaining visibility and combatting homophobia and violence toward LGBTQIA individuals as wonderfully disruptive protest. Art, of course, as well as community building and support is another kind of activism.

 

LGBTQIA organizations require emphatic support and diligent involvement in order to actually impact individuals’ lives. Performative activism, while certainly creates a perception of interest and support, it is useless for any individual who is not directly benefitting from the performance of being down for the cause. When organizations are able to be radically active, it has the potential to create lasting waves of change and visibility, especially within the arts. We can see the lasting effects of activism within art, notably artists and individual art works that have been embraced by the cannon of Art History. Artists are able to create potential canonical work if given support to do so.

 

 

TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS IN ARKANSAS

 

In an ideal world, all LGBTQIA organizations would be inclusive & able to assist the transgender community. However, sometimes this is not the case. Sometimes, the “T” falls to the wayside due to miscommunication, misunderstanding, or simply uncertainty of how to help. Because the transgender community must navigate specific lived experiences that are different than others within the LGBTQIA community, many organizations exist specifically to serve the transgender community. Further, national organizations cannot always provide the assistance needed on a local level to find community & resources nearby. If you are looking for the transgender community in Arkansas or resources, good news! The trans* community exists here & you don’t have to go it alone. This entry will outline some information on two important organizations for the transgender community in Arkansas: Transgender Equality Network & Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition.

 

Transgender Equality Network (TEN) is a local organization that serves Northwest Arkansas’ transgender community. TEN organizes large community events such as Transgender Day of Remembrance, Transgender Day of Visibility & others. Transgender Equality Network also promotes education on transgender issues & lives throughout NWA. Recent presentations include graduate classes at University of Arkansas & Decision Point in Bentonville, AR. TEN is open to providing this transgender education to classes, groups, businesses & other institutions. Please contact TEN! Further, Transgender Equality Network works to provide resources to the transgender community in NWA. TEN assists with name changes & other aspects of transition. TEN is happy to walk one through the name change process paperwork or the physical process itself. TEN also occasionally plans name change clinics as a part of Transform Health (the last name change event also provided free HIV testing!). TEN also accommodates finding access to medical care such as therapists & doctors. Contact TEN or go to the website for more information on resources. Transgender Equality Network also partners with other groups across Arkansas such as ARTEC & the Center for Equality. Ongoing support groups (located at the Center for Equality), movie nights, and dance parties (typically Fridays) are a part of TEN’s events. Recently, TEN had a Clothing Exchange to ring in 2017. TEN will have an ongoing clothing closet at the office for our community. Please contact TEN to make donations or arrange to peruse the racks!

 

Coming soon! Transgender Equality Network intends to celebrate Transgender Prisoner Day of Action and Solidarity (January 22) with letter-writing to Trans Prisoners & other events. In honor of Valentine’s Day, TEN will co-host an event on healthy relationships for the trans* community (February 11) with Project ARCH. There are many more events in the works! Transgender Equality Network’s office is currently located at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Center at University of Arkansas. Find TEN at http://transeqnet.org/ or Transgender Equality Network on Facebook. On the website one will find lists of resources, name change & gender change procedures for this area, and links to resources throughout Arkansas.

 

Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition (ARTEC) is a state-wide organization dedicated to serving the transgender community. Primarily based in Little Rock, ARTEC aims “to advance equality, justice and inclusiveness for transgender and gender non-conforming Arkansans through a statewide trans-led organization. Ultimately, improving the lives of all transgender & gender non-binary Arkansans (http://www.artranscoalition.org/).” This organization’s mission is inclusive of all transgender Arkansans from the get-go which shows that any transgender individual should feel comfortable reaching out to ARTEC for assistance. Further, Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition seems committed to combatting racism within the community as the FB feed on the side of the page mentions recently removing a member for racist comments made outside the group pages. They also took a public stance on their webpage against Club Sway (http://www.artranscoalition.org/alert/).

 

Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition’s webpage has links to health providers, legal services & support organizations. They also have an event calendar on their webpage. For the month of December, ARTEC hosted several support groups, a holiday dinner, a Macaroni & Cheese Cook-Off, & a Holiday safe space. They also hosted an event in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance in November.

 

ARTEC’s Facebook has a link where you can provide your contact information for any updates on Arkansas “bathroom bill” legislation, coined as Ark Potty Patrol Bill. Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition may be found online at http://www.artranscoalition.org/ & on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArkansasTransEquality/.

 

 

TrueChild: http://www.truechild.org

 

 

Equality Texas: https://www.equalitytexas.org

TrueChild, according to its website, “helps donors, policy-makers and practitioners reconnect race, class and gender through “gender transformative” approaches that challenge rigid gender norms and inequities.” Its members implement a theoretical framework of intersectionality through activism in the training program and informational materials it offers on the effects of “harmful gender norms and inequities” on the “life outcomes for at-risk communities,” focusing specifically on Americans with low socioeconomic status, minorities, and the LGBTQ community. On the other hand, Equality Texas is a socially engaged group focusing on political activism, fundraising efforts, and community-building events.

 

TrueChild’s executive director is Riki Anne Wilchins, known for her transgender activism, writing, and perhaps most recognized (or condemned) for her organization of Camp Trans at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in protest of their strict policy of allowing entrance to natal-female women only. Wilchins has founded or co-founded numerous queer organizations and events, including GenderPAC, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, National Gender Lobby Day, and Intersex Awareness Day. Through GenderPAC, Wilchins’ seminal research on transgender violence was mobilized to inform the House Sub-Committee that developed the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crime Act (2009). TrueChild’s literature and training programs have been accessed by the CDC, the DHS, various White House departments, and nearly fifty non-profit and philanthropic organizations for help in implementing policies and practices that are sensitive to issues of gender, race and class.

 

The mission of Equality Texas is “to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.” Background information on Chuck Smith, the group’s CEO, is not immediately available on EQTX’s homepage, and most online content about him is directly linked to EQTX. Their staff, in contrast with the academically-decorated staff of TrueChild, specializes in government relations and communications, highlighting the politically active nature of their enterprise. TrueChild is funded through nine corporate and philanthropic organizations. The George Family Foundation “celebrates the spiritual reciprocity that exists between donors and receivers working collaboratively to make the world a better place,” while the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York advocates for a world in which “all women and girls in the Jewish community…have equal opportunity for economic, religious, social, and political achievement.” Heinz and Motorola stand out as TrueChild’s two corporate sponsors. The top sponsor for Equality Texas is the Washington, D.C., law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, which “strives to create a culture of inclusiveness, where differences are seen as strengths, where varied perspectives are welcomed and where our workforce reflects the diversity in our world.”

 

The main topics for access on truechild.org are: Reproductive Health, Science and Math (STEM), School Pushouts, Economic Security, Young Black Men, Young Black Women, Homophobia and Teen Suicide, and Young Jewish Women. TrueChild’s materials available for consumption include seminars, webinars, workbooks, training programs, curriculum guides, and community initiative models. At equalitytexas.org, EQTX highlights its main issues of concern as Ending Discrimination, Building Strong Families, Protecting Youth and Preventing Violence. Its seemingly active Events section, for the current month, includes an Equality Project in San Antonio offering “training to help the LGBT and ally community learn how we can take positive, concrete steps to get engaged” in light of “the anticipated onslaught of anti-LGBT legislation in the 2017 legislative session.” Also coming up is a highly-sponsored martini mixer to raise funds for “EQTX’s efforts to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through education, community organizing, and collaboration.”

 

TrueChild’s intersectional approach to gender is on the cutting-edge of both activism and academia, but I was disappointed to note that in its “Read the Research” section, only two articles were more recent than 2011. I do not doubt the validity of the plethora of articles they have posted from the 2000’s, but the lack of recent material may be a warning sign as to the ongoing dedication of members as well as the salience of the approaches they offer to businesses and philanthropic organizations which seek to funnel scarce funding into policies that will bring about immediate improvements in the urgent matter of gender equality. Equality Texas appears to be a prolific and diligent organization working hard to connect volunteers and donors in the advancement of a liberal LGBTQ (but, seemingly, not intersex) platform for the sake of the Texas queer community.

 

 

The NWA Center for Equality: nwaequality.org

The NWA Center for Equality (nwaequality.org) is a self-professed “grass-roots support and advocacy movement … [whose mission is to provide] voice, testing … education, peer-support and community outreach in Bentonville and Washington counties” (nwaequality.org). This volunteer organization was founded in 2006 and incorporated in 2007 as the Northwest Arkansas Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center (NWAGLBTCC). In 2009, the organization, retaining their 501 (c) (3) non-profits status; adopted a new business name: The Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality, Inc. In 2015, NWA Pride merged with the NWA Center for Equality in order to consolidate resources to better fulfill their shared mission.

 

Headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the NWA Center for Equality was initially funded via membership dues; however, in 2014, this fundraising structure was terminated specifically to “encourage everyone in the local LGBTQA community … [to support the organization’s overarching goal of] furthering equality and inclusiveness in NWA” (nwaequality.org). Today, funding comes from grants and donations. The largest and most consistent grant donors for the past 10 years, according to the organization’s website, are Walmart and Fayetteville Advertising & Promotions. Individuals are also encouraged to donate their time and financial resources.

 

The NWA Center for Equality provides counseling and education programs to greater than 5,000 persons annually, as well as free HIV testing for all; however, the website indicates that the free testing service is primarily for local members of the “LGBTQ, African American, Latino and homeless communities” (nwaequality.org). The organization’s calendar indicates there are a number of weekly peer-support group sessions including Trans & Queer Peer Support, Coming-Out Peer Support, and Positive Living Support. In addition, there is a webpage dedicated to providing connections to local, state and national resources (e.g., Arkansas Crisis Center, HIV Arkansas). The NWA Center for Equality’s primary community outreach and advocacy platform appears to be the week-long NWA Pride Celebration held each summer in June in Fayetteville, AR.

 

It appears that this organization’s website is out of date and only minimally maintained. The calendar only contains recurring events not linked to the scant number of events listed (7 in 2016) on the News page. Program information for the 2017 NWA Pride Celebration should be available, but it is not. Address and contact information are not consistent and is scattered throughout the website. And, more than 50% of the links on the Resources page no longer function. None of this is meant to be harshly critical of an all-volunteer organization; however, lack of information, typographical errors and inconsistencies speaks to the group’s projected image of cohesiveness and effectiveness. Unattended as it is, this group’s website does not necessarily represent all of the good works that they accomplish.

 

In terms of inclusivity, the change of business name in 2009 and the elimination of membership dues, as mentioned above, demonstrate the group’s evolution toward using more inclusive language and practices. However, looking at the group’s officer and program titles, five of the seven are devoted to programs for members of the transgender community, it is hard to determine if and how all members of the LGBTQIA community would be welcome at the NWA Center for Equality.

 

 

Arkansans for Equality: arkansansforequality.org

Arkansans for Equality (AFE), founded in 2012 by Christina Harrison, is a non-profit organization whose mission is “supporting equality for all Arkansans … [by working] to repeal any legislation codifying discrimination” (arkansansforequality.org). This bipartisan group espouses the belief that “all individuals, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity should be treated equally under the law and in every environment” (arkansansforequality.org). Thus, while not explicitly an LGBTQIA organization, this group’s most recent legislative focus has been on LGBT issues such as same-sex marriage, bathrooms, school bullying and workplace discrimination.

 

Headquartered near Little Rock, AR, this organization raises funds through its website and presumably through the sale of online merchandise; however, no information has been provided that describes major fundraising activities, donors, events or initiatives successful in blocking or overturning discriminatory legislation.

 

The last active initiative that the organization appeared to be running was in 2015, in opposition to SB202 which would forbid anti-discrimination ordinances at the city level, which according to this organization “allows and encourages discrimination, not only to LGBTQ communities, but to veterans, the elderly, and anyone that doesn’t already have protections” (arkansansforequality.org). In response, the AFE has created window stickers and made them freely available for businesses that wish to indicate their preference for “Straight People Only”. In addition, there are a second set of stickers for business owners who wish to indicate a non-discriminatory position. Finally, there is a list on this website of “businesses that do not discriminate” that has been compiled based on patron recommendations and/or business pledges.

 

It appears that the website of this all-volunteer organization is also only minimally maintained. While contact information is consistent and readily found, the calendar is devoid of activities and in the last three years, there were only four new releases: one in 2016, one in 2015 and two in 2014. If there is community outreach, I suspect that other forums may be in use (e.g., meetup, Facebook).

 

In terms of inclusivity, I am disturbed both by the antagonistic distribution of “straight people only” stickers, even if it is to those businesses that want them and, by the cataloging of businesses as LGBTQIA friendly. I think that perhaps the idea of shaming people is behind the “straight people only” stickers; however, I know of several people who would not be the least bit ashamed and I would be upset to know that my donation for a worthy cause went to creating hatefully worded stickers. While cataloguing LGBTQIA-friendly businesses may not seem to be a bad idea, I think, to reference Foucault, that it may be a dangerous one. Is making lists, even for the sake of raising awareness and recognizing positive behavior, inclusive? Looking at the pictures of the officers as well as those on the Gallery page (also the officers), I see a decidedly white, privilege demographic represented. I am not sure who would be welcomed in this organization.

 

 

PFLAG: https://www.pflag.org

PFLAG, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays is one of the largest support groups for friends, families and allies, along with individuals who identify on the sexual orientation continuum. PFALG was started in 1972 when a parent decided she was going to publicly support her gay son. Jeanne Manford was marching with her son at the Christopher Street Liberation Day March that would later be called Pride Parade, when another LGBTQ youth saw her there (PFGLAG, 2017). Many had approached her and asked if she would speak with their parents about homosexuality and supporting their youth through this time. After this, Jeanne decided that a support group was needed for the community and those who wanted to support LGBTQ individuals (PFGLAG, 2017). Then in 1980, PFLAG was created, (formally known as Parents Flag) and set to work. The name was changed to the current one in 2014 and PFLAG holds an office in Washington DC. There are over 400 chapters across America with over 200,000 supporters, according to PFALG.org. The main goals of PFLAG are advocacy, education and support for all members of the LGBTQ society and their loved ones. PFLAG works to create a healthy and respectful environment for human diversity and they do so through a variety of mechanisms.

 

Some programs or groups offered through PFLAG are a hotline for people to call in with LGBTQ questions or needing resources, along with their website that provides local resources to those involved with the community (PFGLAG, 2017). PFLAG also has a newsletter that will go out monthly to members with updates on the LGBTQ community, laws, policies, and what PFLAG is doing to further help the cause. Outside of these resources, PFLAG will host group meetings that are open to the community who want to become educated in LGBTQ issues (PFGLAG, 2017). Once there, the large group will break up into small group discussion where relationships can be formed with those who are identify as LGBTQ. In addition, family and friends will attend these meetings to support newly out individuals and their loved ones. During these meetings education can occur via teachings, documentaries or guest speakers. PFLAG also host an education/speaker series that will visits local high schools or colleges and provide education about the LGBTQ community.

 

In addition to these support systems, PFLAG has an advocacy person who stays abreast of state and local policies around LGBTQ issues (PFGLAG, 2017). This person can inform individuals of different non-profits, policies or laws in place that might assist or affect the community. A newer movement that PFLAG has started is called Straight for Equality. This movement is the inclusion of heterosexual or straight individuals in LGBTQ issues with the goal being that the more people who support their cause, the greater change PFALG can make (PFGLAG, 2017). Since PFLAG has been an organization around for several decades, the program now offers scholarships for LGBTQ youth to ensure they are granted a bright future. They provide over 75,000 dollars to members of the LGBTQ community but also anyone who identifies as an ally of the community or just thinks their sexuality may be different from the norm. Continuing with education, PFLAG offers an education service through an online system. This provides families, friends, allies or LGBTQ individuals with more information on the topic and can be accessed online; they even offer a webinar series that one can log into and hear lectures from people in the field or guest speakers.

 

In order to have these services, volunteers run PFLAG and the organization collects donations to assist financially with these services. In addition, professionals, students, and members of the community, can sign up to be a member of PFLAG and pay an annual fee (PFGLAG, 2017). PFLAG also makes merchandise that could be bought through their website, such as t-shirts, bands, or bumper stickers. It does not appear that any other funds are collected through PFLAG.

 

After viewing PFLAGS website, the organization appears to be very inclusive. I looked into the PFLAG that is hosted in South Jersey and this organization will serve all of New Jersey, Delaware, and southeast PA, that includes Philadelphia.  It appears to serve a large area of the northeast and there are PFLAGS are all across American that does similar work. A critique of PFLAG could be that it does not include Intersex, specifically, on their website. Outside of this though, the organization is working hard to be open-minded. They have recently started a new group series for individuals who identify as transsexual and their family, friends or loved ones. They also have groups for people who are questioning their sexuality but are not sure where they fall in the continuum.  Based on their website and the level of service, it appears the PFLAG has an effect on the LGBTQ population, at least their parents and loved ones, by assisting them in understanding what it means to be non-heterosexual.

 

 

Human Rights Campaign: www.hrc.org

The Human Rights Campaign was founded in 1980 by Steven Endean and currently has 1.5 million members; it is the largest national organization for LGBTQ rights (Human Rights Campaign, 2017). It was originally developed to fund political figures that supported lesbian and gay rights and assist them with obtaining seats as mayors, governors, and continuing up the political ladder. The Human Rights Campaign’s mission is to ensure LGBTQ members are embraced by society, home, work and the community and given equality in all areas of their life, they wish to see the success of all LGBTQ members.  In order to fund these sources, the Human Rights Campaign will accept financial donations or individuals can buy merchandise from their online store (Human Rights Campaign, 2017). Due to this organization being very big and nationally advertised, they have many cooperate partners such as, American Airlines, Apple, and Microsoft to help fund their programs and advocacy work.  Many celebrities also support the Human Rights Campaign and in doing so help to increase their presences on social media and on TV. In addition, volunteers are used to help advocate and spread awareness about policies and laws that oppress the LGBTQ population.

 

This organization is a non-profit and works to create inclusive and fair policies for the LGBTQ community and does so in a variety of methods. One of the first resources the Human Rights Campaign offers is programs and support groups for children, youth and family around LGBTQ and safety, the coming out process, general education and resources depending on the area you live in (Human Rights Campaign, 2017). They have also designed a program that will assist businesses with becoming more inclusive to the LGBTQ population and how homes can work to be inclusive to their children and family members who identify in the community. In some of their most recent work, the Human Rights Campaign has been extremely active with the transsexual community. This year they created two video campaigns called “Moms for Transgender Equality” and “Dads for transgender Equality,” both segments featured parents and their children who transitioned from one gender to another (Human Rights Campaign, 2017). Many families featured in this film were invited to join the Parents for Transgender Equality Council where their voices will be heard nationally, and they can continue to make changes for the transgender community.  In addition, the Human Rights Campaign has created a children book series that normalizes individuals who identify as transsexual and helps to create a positive outlook on these individuals (Human Rights Campaign, 2017). All across the country, different libraries will host readings from these books to help shift culture. In addition, this organization will work with policies that are unfair and attempt to repeal or adjust them for the LGBTQ society. An infamous bill that the campaign is still fighting against is HB2, pushed out by North Carolina. While the organization has not had success in repealing the bill, they continue to fight with North Carolina’s political administration. Even though they did not win the fight for HB2, they recently blocked a bill in Mississippi called HB 1523 that would have allowed organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals.  Outside of fighting policies, Human Rights Campaign will rate organizations on how LGBTQ friendly they are. This past year they rated 887 businesses, 517 had a perfect score and 647 offered trans health care (Human Rights Campaign, 2017). By hosting this type of survey and providing a standard for organizations to judge themselves on, HRC has created a gold standard for what an organization should do to be inclusive for the LGBTQ community.

 

After reviewing the websites and the work completed by the Human Rights Campaign, they appear to be a very inclusive campaign, especially for the transgender community. It appears that this year they were extremely active in creating laws that support transgender people and fight laws that would oppress or ostracize them from the community. Taken together, it appears that they have a very big effect on the LGBQTIA communities since they are working at a national level. In addition, when I wrote about PFLAG, I mentioned that they did not speak about intersex and had just started offering transgender specific events; Human Rights Campaign appears to be paving the path for these groups and ensuring people are properly educated about each sexual minority.  Furthermore, this organization offers internships to those who wish to learn more about advocacy work around LGBTQ and fellowships to individuals going to law school that want to pursue a career fighting oppression and discrimination that LGBTQ individuals face.  However, on this note, Human Rights Campaign does not appear to offer financial aid to LGBTQ individuals like PFLAG did. Now, this organization is designed differently than PFLAG and this might influence what type of financial funding they can donate for scholarships for students.

 

 

FELGTB: http://www.felgtb.org

The FELGTB, Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais, Transexuales y Bisexuales, is the biggest and most accessible LGBTQIA organization in Spain. Founded in April of 2002 under the name FEGL, la Federación Estatal de Gays y Lesbianas. The organization began to grow and was recognized by congress in Madrid in the year 2000 under the name FELG, Federación Estatal de Lesbianas y Gays, after their inclusion of lesbian leadership. Two years later, in the second congress meeting in Madrid, the organization realized their present-day name after the inclusion of transexuales and bisexuales. Beginning in the year 2000, the organization put the utmost importance on the legalization of gay marriage in Spain. Other initiatives included the social mobilization of all members of the community, combating against homophobic aggression, fighting the spread of HIV, and by providing support to all members. For the eight years that the Spanish Popular Party was in power, they were met with resistance at every turn. The catholic church also posed as opposition to most of the FELGTB’s proposals. However, in 2005 gay marriage was passed in all of Spain, making the country the third to adopt such legislation in Europe. The following year, Spanish congress passed another law regarding gender identity for its citizens. Under this new law, gender identities became protected, and trans people gained the right to change their gender and name without surgery or jurisdiction.

 

After 2006, the organization has focused on spreading awareness inside Spain as well as the rest of the world along with growing their internal structure. The organization has grown to fifty-six associations in fifteen of the seventeen autonomous communities of Spain and has been able to take in volunteers and paid staff to represent all aspects of their diversity. Every year on June 28th, the organization joins with COGAM, another LGBTQIA organization in Spain, to host Europride in Madrid. This pride meeting is considered one of the biggest to meet in all of Europe and provides the people of Spain an opportunity to unite in the capital under a common goal. As a further act of unification inside Spain, the FELGTB has implemented protest years since 2008. Each year, the organization has chosen a different theme or group of people to highlight in their works and protests. The four years that followed are: the year of lesbian visibility in 2008, the year of effective-sexual education in 2009, the year of transsexuality in 2010, and the Year of HIV in 2011.

 

In today’s age, the group continues to grow under the general objectives of AIDS awareness and prevention, creating visibility for group members through public events, offering support and information, defense of human rights in the world, and by promoting the recovery of historical memory in the queer people’s struggles for rights and freedom.

 

 

MOVILH: http://www.movilh.cl

MOVILH, Movimiento de Liberación Homosexual, was formed on June 28, 1991, becoming the first LGBTQIA group in the Chile’s history. The group was formed from members of different social and education status, all without funds to support the movement. Humble beginnings marked the first years of the group’s progress. Meetings were held by bouncing around different buildings like government aids support centers and left-wing democratic party headquarters. Growing quickly, the group was able to attain their new offices and define their main objectives of, “Making visible the reality of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and transsexual (LGBT) people in public and private spaces, designing legal, legislative, cultural, social and economic actions destined to eradicate the violation of the human rights of the sexual minorities, establishing contacts with political, social and academic leaders, and participating in several debate forums.” The second half of the 90’s brought forth more LGBTQIA organizations, with many being founded by MOVILH members. By the early 2000’s, MOVILH had gained considerable popularity as the best known LGBTQIA group in the nation. This popularity was caused by success in both the private and public sectors in accordance with the organization’s stated goals.

 

The current day organization has kept similar goals with an overarching theme of gender equality, while adding new methods and alliances within the country. Equality is sought after for all people including lesbians, bisexuals, transgender men and women, the young LGBT population, and families of diverse sexualities. In MOVILH, there are now four teams that circulate the country and aid the fight for Equality. These include: MOVILH-Women, MOVILH-Trans, MOVILH-Youth, and MOVILH-Families. Movilh-Women combats the prejudices and discriminations set upon lesbian and bisexual women. MOVILH-Trans has the main goal of eradicating discrimination and transphobia of transgendered. MOVILH-Youth is in accordance with all of the aforementioned goals, but mainly focus on the youth of Chile. Finally, MOVILH-Families consists of family members to queer individuals, who set out to help end discrimination within families.

 

The organization has grown to become much more inclusive in a country that is not near as progressive as other countries in South America. On the website are fifteen principles by which MOVILH abides by. In number fifteen, it lists the issues that it actively pursues change in, these include: secularism, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, ecology, euthanasia, conscription, capital punishment, physical or mental disability, ethnicity, AIDS, environment, gender, drug use, prison system, children, seniors, immigration and consumer rights. The organization has branched out from a very limited view since 1991, and now seems able to aid many people in Chile despite gender or sexual preferences.

 

 

LGBT SportSafe: http://lgbtsportsafe.com

LGBT SportSafe is an inclusive program for higher education institutions and athletic departments around the country. The program, launched in the summer of 2016, developed what they refer to as a “3-Peat Model” of inclusive policy, programming, and public awareness.  Within this model, “stamps of approval,” or bronze, silver, and gold medallions are awarded to institutions and athletic departments implementing inclusive policies, LGBTQ inclusion training, and promoting inclusion initiatives publicly. It also provides online inclusion resources for all sports levels (youth, high school, college, club, and professional sports), recognition in the LGBT SportSafe National Registry, and quarterly newsletters.

 

An invitation template is provided on the website for those wishing to invite athletic or recreational sports programs to join the LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program. Programs complete a contact form on the website and are contacted for a 30-minute conference call to discuss the program or institution’s inclusion efforts. The team, of three individuals, decide if the institution or program is eligible for program approval and which medallion will be awarded (gold, silver, or bronze). Medallions for program’s websites are provided as incentive and the first two institutions in each conference to receive approval will be eligible for the LGBT SportSafe Founders Club showing early commitment to LGBT inclusion in sport.

 

The LGBT SportSafe is extremely new, as the program was launched in the summer of 2016. So far, the Founders Club includes Nebraska, Northwestern, Oregon, UCLA, Temple, Colorado University, Southern Oregon, University of North Carolina, American East Conference, and the Alliance of Women Coaches. Because the program is so new to collegiate athletics, the effect is largely unknown. Due to the incentive of being recognized as an inclusive institution or athletic department, it is expected that many institutions will attempt to promote inclusion merely for inclusion recognition.

  • Bronze: shows intentions, inclusion training for coaches and administrators scheduled to be completed in 1-2 academic years, researching inclusive policies, and conceptualizing project.
  • Silver: actively engaged, inclusion training scheduled to be completed within the academic year, actively researching/developing inclusive policies, public awareness project has been scheduled
  • Gold: committed to inclusion, inclusion for coaches and administrators completed and will cycle every 2-3 years, updated policies include protections for LGBTQ student-athletes and coaches, and public awareness project has been scheduled or completed.

Founders club: early leaders, help set a new standard for inclusion in sport, first two institutions in a conference or state gaining approval will be eligible and will be a part of an elite group of institutions that have shown an early commitment to LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

 

Though the above listed criteria are public, the actual approval process is unclear. After contacting LGBT SportSafe without response, it is still unclear of where the organization receives funding, where the mission is projected to take them and how inclusive they actually are.

 

The You Can Play Project: http://www.youcanplayproject.org

The You Can Play Project is an organization that emphasizes playing a game without discrimination and promoting inclusion for LGBTQ athletes to be open and honest about who they are. This organization provides messages, or public service announcements, through high school, college, and professional sports organizations, along with some unique contributors, with the common saying “if you can play, you can play.” The saying indicates that if the skill and work ethic is present in an athlete, then he or she can play, no matter sexual orientation or gender identity. Many institutions and sport programs make short videos with coaches, trainers, and athletes repeating the phrase “if you can play, you can play.” The You Can Play Project’s mission is to work to guarantee that all athletes are giving fair opportunities to compete and a sole focus on skills, work ethic, and competitive spirit.

 

The You Can Play community reaches the community through social media vehicles such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Funding initially provided by the Gill Foundation, the Palette Fund, and the Colin Higgins Foundation. National and international recognition through mayors, artists such as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, FUN., sports associations, broadcasters, united nations, and many other unique entity’s promotional videos endorse the You Can Play Project. Well-known community figures in politics, music, and sports are backing the project globally. Due to the nature of You Can Play Project’s mission, inclusivity is the main goal. Though particularly geared towards sexual minorities, inclusivity of gendered and racial minorities is also emphasized.

 

Colombia Diversa http://colombiadiversa.org/

I decided to research two countries in this region, Colombia and Brazil, to see what other organizations may exist that are in line with the list provided.  The organization I found in Colombia was Colombia Diversa.  So far, they have only been focused on LGBT and do not include Queer, Intersexual or Asexual in their acronym.  This organization’s agenda focuses on promoting legal rights for LGBT, organizing political ideas that can be implemented in the traditional parties, and improving heterosexuals’ perception about the LGBT community.

 

Colombia Diversa professes 6 values which constitute its basis: respect, professionalism, transparency, political independence, alliances, and inclusion.  From its conception in 2004, it has continued to grow and be recognized both nationally and internationally.  Colombia Diversa receives its financial support from donations and strategic alliance with European organizations such as Diakonia, another LBGTQIA focused organization.  In its first year (2004) the founders began with an amount of 106 million Colombian pesos which would be around 35 thousand US dollars.  From 2006 to 2009 they got an award for being a private organization that promotes participation among the LGBT community in Colombia.  In 2009, they got an award at Outgames Copenhagen for an International Conference on LGBT Human Rights, an affirmation and exaltation of their good practices.  Colombia Diversa won the Felipa de Souza award at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in 2010 (IGLHRC). Also, in 2010, at the Universidad Javeriana, they received an award for promoting innovation for LGBT community participation.

 

Colombia Diversa’s website is dynamic and user friendly, making information available that is related to the LGBT community nationwide and worldwide.  Besides being informative, an aspect that makes this website useful is that they try to display in graphics the amount of social hatred against members of the LGBT communities in Colombia and they pursue follow up information in those legal cases.  Below is a chart depicting some of the useful information for Colombia that is provided by Equaldex as part of their online services.

 

In current times, being a part of the LGBT community is becoming “normal” and society in general is beginning to accept the people and their lifestyle.  However, both traditional and radical groups that having opposing beliefs and ideology to that of the LGBT community are making social and political efforts to change the laws that are protecting LGBT communities in this country.

 

I did research using the well-known website Equaldex, which promotes information about LGBT rights in every country and might help for future research.  I searched other countries close to Colombia like Peru and Venezuela for information, but they do not show any results for LGBTQIA organizations listed in those countries.  The only country that I found information for was Brazil where legal rights for LGBT communities are possible.

 

 

ABGLT: https://www.abglt.org

I did research using the well-known website Equaldex, which promotes information about LGBT rights in every country and might help for future research.  I searched other countries close to Colombia like Peru and Venezuela for information, but they do not show any results for LGBTQIA organizations listed in those countries.  The only country that I found information for was Brazil where legal rights for LGBT communities are possible.  One of the most important organizations in this country is Associação Brasileira de Lésbicas, Gays, Bissexuais, Travestis, Transexuais e Intersexos (ABGLT). They started in 1995 with a clear goal on their agenda, to promote actions that defend the human rights for the LGBTQIA community in Brazil.  This group was founded with the support of 31 other groups and 300 legitimate organizations that make this community the biggest in South America.  In 2009, ABGLT received the status consultivo by the United Nations that makes them an organization able to work and support governments in situations that affect LGBTQIA communities.  Their fundamental values are ethics, transparency, compromise, integrity, diversity, and solidarity.  In comparison with Colombia Diversa, ABGLT does not show their financial statements nor from where their first budget came.  According to the laws of this countries, it is not necessary for them to share their budget with the public.  Below is another chart of useful information concerning Brazil provided by Equaldex website.

 

GLAAD (formerly known as: Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation): https://www.glaad.org/

GLAAD is a media monitoring organization that seeks to reshape the narrative and “rewrite the script for LGBTQ acceptance” by examining and advocating for the representation of the LGBTQ community. The organization was founded in 1985 by a small group of writers and journalists (including Vito Russo) as a response to the New York Post’s defamatory and sensationalized HIV and AIDS coverage. Some significant works for GLAAD include: contributing to The New York Times switching from using “homosexual” to “gay” when referring to the community, collaborating with All is One Orlando to raise $700,000 in the wake of the Orlando massacre, and coordinating media outreach and vigils after the murder of Matthew Shepard to spark a dialogue about anti-LGBT violence.

 

GLAAD does most of its media advocacy by staying in constant conversation with networks, studios, and several media players. It has often been described as one of Hollywood’s most powerful entities and one of the most successful organizations lobbying the media for inclusion.

 

GLAAD is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which suggests a reliance on donors for financial stability. Its major corporate partners are Delta Airlines, Hilton Inc., Ketel One Vodka, and Wells Fargo. Both Delta and Hilton Inc. ranked highly on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey for all policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality.

 

However, GLAAD does have a controversial policy of accepting financial support from some of the media entities that they watchdog, which comprises about 3% of total financial support. While they do separate their fundraising department from the media monitoring department through formal protocols about flow of information, this practice is often still questioned. GLAAD is of the position that financial contribution is enough to imply that the donor seeks dialogue and meaningful engagement.

 

GLAAD currently has many programs that seek accountability and responsibility among journalistic outlets and film studios. They also have a style guide of recommendations for positive, inclusive depictions of those that are LGBT. GLAAD also creates articles in which they evaluate media representations of the LGBT community. The organization also runs the Together Movement which encourages inclusiveness of those discriminated against including women, Muslims, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Furthermore, they run Spirit Day, an annual national day of action used to support LGBT youth and is the world’s largest and most visible anti-bullying campaign.

 

As an organization, GLAAD’s commitment to inclusivity can be seen when they changed their official name to simply the acronym to ensure they could represent other communities like the bisexual, transgender, or intersex communities.

 

Immigration Equality: https://www.immigrationequality.org/

Since being founded in 1994 by attorneys Lavi Soloway and Noemi Masliah, Immigration Equality has advocated for and represented LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants seeking safety, fair treatment, and freedom. The organization works both to serve individuals and to impact the immigration system as a whole.

 

The organization provides free direct legal services to LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants including asylum seekers, binational couples separated by oceans, detainees trapped in immigration jail facilities, and undocumented people living in the shadows. The only major criterion that the organization seems to have for the immigrants soliciting their resources is that they are members of the LGBTQ community and/or are HIV-positive. They have a remarkable 98% case win rate for their clients in asylum cases and immigration court.

 

Immigration Equality also advocates for policy reform and demands fair treatment for LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants by lobbying Congress to pass bills like the Reuniting Families Act, advocating against discriminatory administrative policies like the requirement by the CDC that people with HIV undergo unnecessary, lengthy, and unsafe tests abroad before obtaining a green card, and by training all new asylum officer in the United States on LGBTQ and HIV immigration law.

 

This organization is also a 501(c)3 non-profit that is dependent on the pro-bono work of several medium to small law firms and independent lawyers. The organization also runs the Immigration Equality Action Fund that was created for lobbying purposes exclusively. The Action Fund is composed of donations. The only identifiable sponsors visible on the organization’s website appears to be Reyka Vodka and Cheer New York, as well as several individual donors.

 

Immigration Equality is the only existing national organization that both advocates for and directly represents LGBT and HIV-positive people in the immigration system. They serve clients from over 80 countries that need legal representation and offer services in Chinese, English, French, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.

 

The Borderland Rainbow Center: http://www.borderlandrainbow.org/

 

The Borderland Rainbow Center opened its doors on September 9th, 2016, with the goal to offer lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and intersex people, and their allies, a space to grow and find agency. Not only does it offer a safe space, but also support connecting individuals to resources for mental and physical health, legal and economic counsel, education, spirituality, and cultural experiences. Since it opened its doors in 2016, it has held over 400 events and services and supplied over 120 families with food, including fresh produce, canned products, and bread. The center is easily accessed, just a 5-minute walk from the Five Points Sun Metro terminal, and located off Wyoming Ave. It’s hours of operation vary to meet a diversity of schedules in the community; as well, staff is available by appointment.

 

The Borderland Rainbow Center has a large social media presence, as well, on Twitter, Facebook, and has its own website where anyone can access additional resources, like a list of lbgtqia friendly providers of social services in El Paso, called the Purple Pages.

 

The Borderland Rainbow Center is 100% substance-free and has a licensed social worker on staff, available for the community. In addition, it has (and promises to always have) a diverse staff––in terms of race, class, and sexuality. It is a nonprofit and runs 99% from donations, sponsors, and volunteers. Of its two paid employees, both are Community Work Study Students, and 88% of their salaries are grant funded. The center estimates that a donation of $25 funds the facility for 13 hours of work.

 

The center hosts events almost every day of the week, ranging from social gatherings like film nights––to practical workshops, like immigration 101, which focuses specifically on immigration for the lgbtqia community. It offers many support groups, such as Adult Transgender Support, Transgender Youth Support, Transgender Family, Pantry Distribution, and Addictions Anonymous.

 

One of the center’s most popular and innovative events is its Journal Club. Here people meet and discuss the weekly scholarly and peer-review article, related to the lgbqia community––most recent articles have focused on family and children. Due to copyright, the center cannot offer these articles to the public, but takes pains to choose articles widely available online and announces each week’s article via a Journal Club mailing list and on its website. Every event and service held at Borderlands is free and open to the public.

 

The El Paso GLBT Community Center: http://www.qrd.org/qrd/www/orgs/avproject/gayelpaso.org/community.htm

 

The El Paso GLBT Community Center is a space of coalition, located in downtown El Paso, off S Ochoa, in an area commonly referred to as Gay El Paso. It has been open for 12 years as a division of the nonprofit, LAMBDA GLBT Community Services, which caters to all GLBT populations in El Paso. It serves not only the community in El Paso, but also many surrounding communities where outreach for lgbtqia is absent. Primarily, people come from El Paso, the city of Juárez, and Las Cruces, New Mexico. The GLBT Community Center first opened as a space of service for GLBT community coping with HIV/AIDS but has evolved to include many other public and social services apart from medical services and safe-sex education, such as exploring identity from a multicultural perspective.

 

The center now provides a location for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, HIV/AIDS groups, and 12-step groups to meet without harassment and free of charge. Many of the events held at the center are funded by LAMBDA through donations.

 

Some of the services that the center offers include: social events, like dances, plays and parties; weekly support and discussion groups; educational workshops; a library and resource area; access to the internet; access to current and local events; a space for local lgbtqia communities to gather to organize or socialize, and many other services. Located inside the center is a café and a Pride Store, where GLBT literature, along with other paraphernalia can be purchased, and proceeds go to running the center. Because the center is run via donation and on a mostly volunteer basis, it has had difficulty staying staffed, offering services, including updating its website, as of late. Despite this, the center remains open to all member of the GLBT community in and around El Paso, Texas.

 

Movilh: www.movilh.cl

Movilh is a Chilean Homosexual Movement of Integration and Liberation established on June 28, 1991 by people from different social and educational strata (professionals, technicians, workers and students) advocated to defend the LGBT human rights at all levels, especially for the benefit of those affected by sexual and/or gender discrimination. Movilh is considered as the first and most visible movement for sexual diversity within Chile.

Movilh has four areas of work: Human rights that offers legal, psychological, social and human consulting for people affected by discrimination. The Legislative and Politics area that investigates, proposes and designs laws, agreement projects, and politics against the discrimination. The Culture and academic area consult and develops investigations related to the sexuality and the phenomena of discrimination as well as carrying out recreating and cultural educational activities (forums, expositions, seminars, massive events, etc.). And, the Social and health rights area offers guidance in sexual orientation, sexual diversity and human rights by organizing programs in social consulting and giving theoretical and technical help and support to growing sexual minority organizations. Additionally, Movilh, to advance towards a real gender equality and effective self-representation of the sexual diversity, has four groups with specific guidelines that aboard the reality of the most vulnerable and invisible social sectors of the sexual diversity. Those are: Movilh-Women, Movilh-Trans, Movilh-Youth, and Movilh-FaGeneral objectives. 1) Reduce and eradicate discrimination, injustice or abuse committed as a cause of sexual orientation or sexual identity. 2) Make visible and establish a public and private debate about the reality of LGBT people. 3) Generate actions and politic, cultural, social, economic or legal alliances tending towards the value and respect of the right to sexual diversity. 4) Suggest and execute action tending towards improving the quality of life for the LGBT population. And, 5) Promote the self-representation and the autonomy of the LGBT population.

Financially, Movilh is a non-profit organization, autonomous and independent from all ideological, political and economic currents and nearly all the actions carried out are made thanks to the voluntary and free work of its members. Since 2001, Movilh began to look for financing through postulation of projects to government and foreign instances to finance production costs. The contribution of Movilh activists, private people, and companies cover the costs of utilities, telephone, internet, travels, assistance in emergencies, etc.

The main achievements of the organization, among others, are decriminalization of Sodomy in 1999; Law of Anti-discrimination in 2012; Law of Gender Identity in 2008; Opus Gay newspaper v/s Opus Dei in 2004; First lawsuit of discrimination in the Consumer Law, in 2010, based on sexual orientation and gender identity; the first Chilean Gay Parade de Chile in 2006; the first Chilean LGBT Cinema Festival; Parade against Bullying in 2004; etc. For further information visit www.movilh.cl

 

IRQR: www.irqr.ca

(Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees) is a Canadian based charity that helps the LGBT population looking for asylum from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. The organization gives support and counseling to LGBT refugees that includes financial aid for shelter, food and healthcare. IRQR follows up with their LGBT refugee cases from when leave until they arrive in a safe country and are supportive during the entire refugee process.

IRQR was founded in 2008 and since then it has become a reliable source of help for people who are seeking to move on from past persecution because under Islamic Republic of Iran law, LGBT community members are considered as criminals who have been prosecuted and punished. Therefore, many LGBT people have been forced to flee from their homeland to save their lives, leaving their family, friends, love ones behind.

The goal of IRQR is to eliminate Iranian queer issues as part of mainstream human rights discourse. This will be completed though media presence, contributions to high profile events. IRQR regularly visits to Turkey to meet refugees, document their situation and collect their feedback on IRQR activities.

The IRQR mission is to assist persecuted LGBT Iranians seeking asylum to find refuge to live free and equal in dignity and rights providing education, guidance, and support to Iranian LGBT individuals making asylum claims during their resettlement process. IRQR connect asylum seekers and refugees with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (ACNUR) offices around the world to help refugees resettle in safe countries.

IRQR values are compassion, integrity, continuous improvement, dedication, and trust.

Achievements. Since 2005 to 2015, the organization was able to help process more than 1200 refugee applications, that means that almost an 80% of the applicants were successfully granted refugee status. Its website shows that “Since its founding, IRQR has helped more than 1500 refugees with an average of 166 applications per year.”

Unfortunately, the organization runs on a very small budget. “Our tiny staff works hard to run life-changing campaigns and projects at the drop of a dime, whenever they’re needed most”. So, donations go directly towards the costs to keep running the IRQR missions which is relieving poverty for LGBT refugees in Turkey by providing the necessities of life. On line people can donate from $10 to $250 and more. And their donation is tax deductible. For further information visit www.irqr.ca

 

The Gay Fathers Coalition: https://www.familyequality.org/

The Gay Fathers Coalition was founded in 1979, in support of homosexual fathers and their partners, children, and friends. Eventually the name was changed to Family Equality Council (FEC) in 2007, to better reflect the organization’s more inclusive mission. The FEC’s goal is to strive for legal equality for members of the LGBTQ community who have children or the desire to start a family. Members strive to change stigmas surrounding LGBTQ parents and work to show that their families deserve the same respect as any other.

Legislative decisions are monitored for a number of issues, including adoption and foster care, surrogacy, parental recognition, non-discrimination protections, and more. The FEC is in charge of several programs designed to empower families in the LGBTQ community. The “Outspoken Generation Program” gives a platform to LGBTQ parents to connect and speak out about their experiences. The “International Family Equality Day” program strengthens a sense of community among its members by hosting community events such as picnics, press conferences, and music. These programs, as well as several others, are helping to instill change by making LBGTQ families more visible and better protected. Through the FEC’s work, more friendships have formed across LGBTQ families, information on starting a family has become more accessible to LGBTQ parents, and greater legal recognition has been given to LGBTQ parents.

 

LGBT National Help Center: https://www.glbthotline.org/

In 1996, the LGBT National Help Center was founded as a support system and information hub regarding LGBTQ questions and concerns. Their mission is to provide a safe and comfortable space for members of the LGBTQ community to receive free peer support. Currently, the organization runs 3 major hotlines: the LGBT National Hotline, the LGBT National Youth Hotline, and the SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline. Since the start of the organization, the hotlines have been able to help tens of thousands of people all over the people. Volunteers talk with people of all different ages with topics about coming out, safe sex, relationship issues, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. Other resources are available including one-on-one online chat support, a trans teen online talk group, booklists, inspiring films, and 15,000 local spots across the U.S.

The Family Equality Council and the LGBT National Help Center are non-profit organizations, and function through tax-deductible donations. Concerning the FEC, many foundations have given financial support, including the General Mills Foundation, Esmond Harmsworth Foundation, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and more. The Protectors Circle works in affiliation and commits more than $1,200 annually. The FEC’s Chief Development Officer is responsible for creating a fundraising plan and raising about $3 million. As an equal opportunity employer, the organization does not discriminate against applicants. They consider anyone who fits the criteria necessary to do the job.

Along with requesting donations, the LGBT National Help Center has partnered with different companies selling SWAG items to contribute as well. The center operates through volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering must understandably display the proper helpful and non-judgmental attitude and be able to fulfill the time commitment in order to help.

 

Lucie’s Place: http://www.luciesplace.org/

Lucie’s Place is a registered 501(c)3 founded in 2012 by Penelope Poppers, is a shelter and outreach center for homeless LGBTQ youth located in Little Rock, Arkansas. Poppers decided to start the center after a census came out from the Campaign to End Child Homelessness listing Arkansas as the third worst state in the country for homeless children. Poppers noted various outreach organizations on a national level but couldn’t find practical local resources to refer young adults to, after they lost their home. According to Poppers, this situation is compounded by the fact that many of the resources for homeless individuals in Arkansas are run by churches who may require LGBTQ youth to follow a certain dress code or attend Bible studies (during which they are told their lifestyles are “sinful”) in order to stay at the shelter. This can be very damaging, particularly for transgender individuals who may be required to present as the opposite gender.

 

As of December 2017, there are now two homes available. The center in Little Rock does not merely serve as a shelter. Among the resources offered to youth at Lucie’s Place are funding for counseling, job training, a city-wide bus pass, cell phone access, clothing and hygiene products, etc. These resources enable young adults to gain some level of independence and autonomy in their own lives, until they are able to find a more secure housing situation.

 

Lucie’s Place has a Board of Directions and two full-time staff members, Penelope Poppers and Ash Hunter. They have a volunteer system for hosting fundraisers, supply drives, as well as working directly with mentoring and coaching individuals. Most of the organization’s operating budget comes from state and local granting agencies.

 

Recently, this organization gained a lot of attention through the Duggar’s (of 19 Kids and Counting) efforts to stop the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance for Fayetteville, AR proposed by Matthew Petty in 2014. The bill prohibits discrimination by businesses and landlords based on sexual orientation, gender, etc. Michelle Duggar launched a transphobic-based campaign in opposition, raising over $10,000 for her cause. In opposition, a Twitter campaign arose for Lucie’s Place, raising an equivalent amount and getting Lucie’s Place attention and representation online.

 

Lucie’s Place provides shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth in Little Rock, Arkansas and became a nonprofit in 2012. The organization was started and titled in the memory of Lucie Marie Hamilton–a trans woman who died when she was twenty in 2009. After researching Lucie, a bit more, I found an article that said that she died in New Jersey under suspicious circumstances when practicing some sort of voodoo ritual. However, the website did not provide this information, probably because the focus needs to be on Lucie herself and the influence she had on her community in Arkansas. An interesting fact about the shelter is that there was an increase in donations after the Duggars’ controversial comments on LGBT youth and ten-thousand-dollar donation to anti-LGBTQ efforts in Fayetteville. The hashtag #defendtheduggars turned in to #doubletheduggars in an effort to double their donation amount to Lucie’s Place. Dan Savage picked up on the story and wrote a piece about it.

It was founded by Penelope Poppers and Diedra Levi. The website provides a list of other organizations in Arkansas dedicated to helping LGBT youth with food/transportation. Lucie’s Place provides shelter, counseling, and job training for LGBT teenagers in Little Rock and Central Arkansas. They also give homeless youth things like bus passes and cell phone minutes. It is also a 501(c)3 non-profit organization like Lambda Literary. They raised around thirty thousand dollars on ArkansasGives day according to their Twitter page. From what I could tell from their twitter page, they are given donations from both national and local organizations like the lost40 Brewing Company. They are accepting financial donations but also bus passes and items from their Amazon Wishlist. Their most recent goal seems to be building transitional housing for homeless youth to live in. However, according to THV11, their plans were postponed as a result of a threatening letter sent in 2017. I had some trouble finding a lot of information on their website. This could be explained by the fact that they are a fledgling organization or perhaps are trying to make Lucie’s Place stay as safe as possible. I was able to find more information through googling and reading articles about the shelter.

 

The Montrose Center: https://www.montrosecenter.org/hub/

The Montrose Center is a nonprofit organization that provides mental health care services and substance abuse treatment for LGBTQ individuals in the Houston (Texas) area. These services include counseling, group therapy, individual therapy, couples’ therapy, HIV/AIDS support, substance abuse services, hate crime support, domestic violence in same-sex relationships support, and general wellness education.

 

It is part of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, among other partnerships (such as United Way Houston). It opened in 1978, and in the 1990’s became one of the first organizations in Texas to offer housing to homeless LGBTQ individuals. It also offers programs for LGBTQ youth in the area, called HATCH programs, that provide support for crisis such as youth homelessness and youth suicide. They also host a program called Out for Education that provides scholarships to LGBTQ youth who want to pursue a higher education. The Montrose Center also offers support for LGBTQ seniors who need assisted living or assistance accessing health care through SPRY, or Seniors Preparing for Rainbow Years.

 

The Center is managed by a diverse board of direct, and employs a full-time staff of state-licensed clinicians, counselors, physical therapists, etc. While much of their funding does come from state grants, The Center is also dependent on donations to achieve their financial budget. They partner with individual donors and a variety of businesses and institutions in exchange for annual support. Similarly, their community space is available for rental year-round, and while they are considered to be Houston’s LGBTQ hub, it does not specify that these spaces must be rented for LGBTQ purposes. Their IRS forms are available to the public online.

 

Most recently, their projects include providing aid and resources to the local LGBTQ community affected by Hurricane Harvey. These resources are as varied as furniture and housing support to case management services. They have also proposed a complex of LGBTQ senior housing and care facilities on-site, which is being built this year (2018). This facility would be the first of its kind in Texas. The Montrose Center has also been branching out into community services, such as yoga and meditation classes. This is one of the reasons they opened The Common Grounds café, which is run by volunteers, and available to the general public.

 

GLAAD: www.glaad.org

GLAAD (formerly known as: Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)

GLAAD is a media monitoring organization that seeks to reshape the narrative and “rewrite the script for LGBTQ acceptance” by examining and advocating for the representation of the LGBTQ community. The organization was founded in 1985 by a small group of writers and journalists (including Vito Russo) as a response to the New York Post’s defamatory and sensationalized HIV and AIDS coverage. Some significant works for GLAAD include: contributing to The New York Times switching from using “homosexual” to “gay” when referring to the community, collaborating with All is One Orlando to raise $700,000 in the wake of the Orlando massacre, and coordinating media outreach and vigils after the murder of Matthew Shepard to spark a dialogue about anti-LGBT violence.

 

GLAAD does most of its media advocacy by staying in constant conversation with networks, studios, and several media players. It has often been described as one of Hollywood’s most powerful entities and one of the most successful organizations lobbying the media for inclusion.

GLAAD is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which suggests a reliance on donors for financial stability. Its major corporate partners are Delta Airlines, Hilton Inc., Ketel One Vodka, and Wells Fargo. Both Delta and Hilton Inc. ranked highly on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey for all policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality.

 

However, GLAAD does have a controversial policy of accepting financial support from some of the media entities that they watchdog, which comprises about 3% of total financial support. While they do separate their fundraising department from the media monitoring department through formal protocols about flow of information, this practice is often still questioned. GLAAD is of the position that financial contribution is enough to imply that the donor seeks dialogue and meaningful engagement.

 

GLAAD currently has many programs that seek accountability and responsibility among journalistic outlets and film studios. They also have a style guide of recommendations for positive, inclusive depictions of those that are LGBT. GLAAD also creates articles in which they evaluate media representations of the LGBT community. The organization also runs the Together Movement which encourages inclusiveness of those discriminated against including women, Muslims, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Furthermore, they run Spirit Day, an annual national day of action used to support LGBT youth and is the world’s largest and most visible anti-bullying campaign.

As an organization, GLAAD’s commitment to inclusivity can be seen when they changed their official name to simply the acronym to ensure they could represent other communities like the bisexual, transgender, or intersex communities.

 

The Human Rights Campaign: www.hrc.org

The Human Rights Campaign days they are the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization and want LGBTQ individuals to have basic human rights and to be able to be themselves in public. (2) The HRC’s corporate partners are a little more capitalist though. The platinum partners are big names like American Airlines, Apple, Coca-Cola, Smirnoff and Target. Smirnoff and Target have both blatantly made money off of pride. If you look at Target’s website under pride, there is everything from t-shirts to party decorations. Smirnoff has also profited off of pride with their limited-edition bottles that portray homosexual couples. They also help a Love wins contest to get your face on a Smirnoff bottle.

 

Northwest Arkansas Pride: http://nwaequality.org/nwapride/

Northwest Arkansas Pride officially started in 2006, but events have been since the Miss Gay Fayetteville pageant in 1975. (3) In 2015 NWA pride merged with the NWA center for equality. The 2017 sponsors were much queerer than the sponsors of the organizations above. Sponsors included Adam & Eve, Terra Studios, C4, The City of Fayetteville and The Gayly. Some of the bigger names that also sponsored were Kimberly-Clark (Kotex), Tyson, PepsiCo and Walmart. Where can you go in this town without a Tyson or Walmart contribution though?

 

Gendered Intelligence: http://genderedintelligence.co.uk/

Location: London, UK

Gendered Intelligence (GI) is a non-profit organization founded in London in 2008. The main goals of the organization are to increase visibility of trans people in both the community and the media and to provide support for trans youth aged 8-25. Some of the aims and activities listed on the site include hosting an annual residential trip for trans youth, distributing educational brochures/booklets, hosting events for parents and caregivers of trans youth, and running community conferences. GI also has a campaign called Stop the Silence that was created to raise money for the prevention of gendered bullying. Any monetary donation is accepted for this program, and the donor is expected to take a pledge of silence for a 24-hour period during their chosen date of November, to honor the trans youth who have committed suicide. This campaign has become visible through various media outlets, such as The Conversation, where Lucy Jones cites GI as being an important figure in bringing attention to trans rights and challenging gender stereotypes from an early age. Under the section labeled “Youth Groups”, I found that the organization has outreach sites in Bristol and Leeds, in addition to its home base of London. Welcome to the group are “young trans, non-binary and questioning young people aged under 21”. There is a separate group for children under 13, but only at the London site. Apart from youth support, there are also various possibilities for in-house Trans-Awareness Training. The sessions range from 90 minutes to a half day and are geared toward mental health professionals such as a therapists or counselors. Here is a description of what is covered in an average 3.5-hour session:

  • Set the wider context for trans identities – how sex, gender and sexual orientation interact
    • Explore key terms and uses of language
    • Offer basic grounding in the legislation around the rights and responsibilities around trans identities
    • Begin to explore how an organization can ensure it is being trans-inclusive
    • Provide links to a wide range of resources

Overall, Gendered Intelligence is an organization that offers a wide variety of options for trans youth and the families and communities who support them. More information about GI can be found at: http://genderedintelligence.co.uk/.

 

Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard: http://www.switchboard.org.uk/

Location: Brighton, UK

Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard began as a helpline for LGBT callers in 1975, but has evolved since then to include multiple helplines, including one aimed at trans survivors of sexual assault. The description on the website expresses that the main helpline is inclusive to all LGBTQIA callers, or anyone dealing with related issues. Here’s a brief description:

The helpline is a supportive, non-judgmental and confidential space for LGBTQ people, those who are unsure and/or questioning and those who want to support a friend, family member or loved one. It is run by trained volunteers who will listen, inform and support you.

Underneath the description are a phone number, email, and web chat that you can open in order to speak directly with a representative of the organization. In order to volunteer to work for the helpline, there is a long list of prerequisites you must fulfill before joining. Any interested candidate must go through an interview process and a compulsory 4-stage training process in which they receive training on how to respond to individual cases, depending on the issue at hand. These issues range from relationship difficulties to drug abuse to severe mental health emergencies. As I mentioned earlier, the Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard has expanded to include several other projects, which I will now briefly discuss. The first is called The LGBTQ Health and Inclusion Project (LGBTQ HIP), which bridges communication between the LGBTQ community and the NHS to communicate health needs and other research, in the hopes of making health care more inclusive for the community—particularly for people of minority ethnic backgrounds and those with disabilities. Another project is called the LGBTQ Disability Project, aimed specifically at LGBTQ people with disabilities. This includes a monthly meeting and “safe space” for socializing and campaigning. Although the focus of this organization is its virtual service, I am impressed by the other projects that are in the process of gaining visibility, as well as its policy of all-inclusivity. For those interested individuals who are unable to call or meet due to disability or some other obstacle, Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard promises to proactively reach out in the hopes of making communication possible. More information on the organization can be found here: http://www.switchboard.org.uk/ .

 

Caribe Afirmativo (Positive Caribbean): http://caribeafirmativo.lgbt

The first one stood out because it is a LGBTQIA institution that backs homosexual people who live in violent region in Colombia. This is not insignificant, because after the sign of the peace agreement the situation of most vulnerable people came to light. The second one is a woman´s organization that through artistic performances and activities struggle against patriarchy.

 

Caribe Afirmativo, founded in 2014, is an institution that promotes the diversity through a rights approach based on three interdependent strategies: investigation of the human rights situation of the LGBTQIA population in the region; citizen training exercises in the recognition of sexual diversity and gender identities; advice and consultancy to local and regional governments. Its mission is the strengthening of social integration and the development of LGBTQIA leaders in the political agendas in the post-conflict environment, the investigation of the effects carried out by the “armed actors” and the realization of affirmative actions to guarantee the access to comprehensive reparations established in the law. Caribe Afirmativo considers that the inclusion of LGBTQIA leaders in the Congress might be a bridge between socially excluded homosexual people and their civil rights.  Besides, in the Caribe Afirmativo’s blog, news concerning Colombian public policies are disseminated, showing how they affect or benefit the LGBTQIA community. In addition, this organization publishes academic articles on issues of laws, human rights, and gender equality that improve the understanding of the subject. In the same way, another fundamental aspect of Caribe Afirmativo‘s work is the training of civilian leaders. Any person—whether they belong to the LGBTQIA community or not—can participate in the forums and conferences of this organization. Caribe Afirmativo seeks to seriously institutionalize the struggle for the rights of minorities, a matter that is urgent in the post-conflict context. Caribe Afirmativo is a non-profit organization that has worked hard during the election campaigns in Colombia. They identified social and sectoral LGBTQIA agendas that were taking over as political agendas in the legislative order, public policy or affirmative actions, at the municipal, departmental and national levels.

 

Mujeres al Borde (Women at the edge): http://mujeresalborde.org

The other institution is Mujeres al Borde, which is shaped by activist / “artivist” women who break the rules about gender and sexuality. The goal of this organization is to transgress the system imposed by the patriarchy through performances, documentaries, paintings, fanzines, etc. This organization arose in 2001 as a result of a conversation between women who loved other women and who wanted to build a space for free expression, a space in which body, desire and rebellion could converge. The mission of Mujeres al Borde is to open satisfactory, complete, and happy possibilities for women and for the dissenters of sexual and gender norms. In the same way, its Vision is to propose innovated experiences of feminist and contra-sexual art.

Mujeres al Borde maintains three permanent artistic programs: Teatro Al Borde (theater), Al Borde Producciones (films) and Turbas Al Borde (meetings). Teatro al Borde produces community transfeminist theatrical montages, which focus is the fight by Human Rights for LGBTQIA community. Through satire, drama, and criticism they strengthen the pride and joy of being different. Al Borde Producciones is a film program that seeks to tell stories through a transfeminist lens. This program is not only developed in Colombia but has traveled throughout South America (Ecuador, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina) collecting personal stories of lesbian, transgender, bisexual women, etc., who feel the need to express themselves. This program seeks a social impact through the challenge of established orders. Turbas Al Borde is a popular and communal education strategy that looks for public spaces where people are able to express themselves. In Bogota, this organization carries out public events that exercise a micropolitical movement against the patriarchal system. These community spaces aim to link the civilian population with the activities of LGBTQIA groups. These are spaces without censorship, without restructuring, and are opened to art and transformation. This collective of women denominates their activities as “artivism” (art + activism) because, for them, the art is a perfect way for crossing the gender, sexual, racial, and corporal borders. In addition to being an artistic collective, Mujeres al Borde also publicizes in its blog activities of the LGBTQIA community in the city of Bogota, it also disseminates information about conferences, courses, and academic activities regarding the LGBTQIA community.

Mujeres al Borde is an organization that functions through donations, but it also has the support of other LGBTQIA organizations as Mama Cash, Astraea (Lesbian Foundation for Justice), Global Fund for Women – Champions for Equality, and Open Society Foundations.

 

Out in Tech: https://outintech.com

Out in Tech (founded in 2013) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to unite the LGBTQIA+ tech community. Their members work at tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Microsoft. Today the organization has over 13,000 members in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, London, and Shanghai, but it started when a group of friends noticed that there were almost no social networking spaces for LGBTQIA members in the tech world. Their mission was/is to provide LGBTQIA youth with access to the same tech internships and post-secondary training from which their heterosexual/cisgender white male peers benefit or gain experience more often. Additionally, Out in Tech works with a multitude of companies and tech leaders to challenge workplace dynamics and create powerful opportunities for employees. As stated on their website, the organization’s goal is to “empower aspiring tech leaders to improve our world by showcasing accomplished speakers, producing timely and thought-provoking events, and connecting our members to new opportunities and to each other.”

 

As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, Out in Tech relies on the generosity of its sponsors and supporters, broken into 4 categories—National Headline Sponsors (Automattic, Bank of America), Major Sponsors (Pay Pal, Microsoft, HP), Event Sponsors (eBay, Spotify, Snapchat, and more), and Individual Donors (listed by name on the website). With the help of these sponsors, Out in Tech has been able to reach marginalized and oppressed communities and raise awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues in the world. One of the organization’s most recent impacts on the LGBTQIA+ community was only possible through their Digital Corps program, which provides web services for activists around the globe. In response to the transphobic political climate of the 2017 election, Digital Corps partnered with Mason Dunn, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, and created an app to guide transgender individuals through the complex and emotionally-draining process of changing gender markers on legal documents. Overall, Out in Tech has served 157 youth and volunteered 2,269 hours of work to their cause.

 

Lesbians Who Tech: https://lesbianswhotech.org/sanfrancisco2018/

Lesbians Who Tech (founded in 2014) is another non-profit organization dedicated to creating a more inclusive tech space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community—the organization has over 30k members. Their mission is broken down into four major goals— “to be more visible to each other, to be more visible to others, to get women and lesbians in technology, and to connect lesbians who tech to LGBTQ and women’s organizations who are doing incredible work for community.” Like Out in Tech, Lesbians Who Tech relies on sponsors and donors to meet their financial and political goals—they even share some of the same sponsors, with Lesbians Who Tech listing companies like Google, Facebook, PayPal, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and more. However, Lesbians Who Tech seems to be more overtly concerned with expressing the statistics of their inclusivity. Their website lists the organization’s representation, broken down by Summit (the organization’s national tech gatherings that take place in San Francisco and London)—50% of the speakers at the San Francisco Summit are women of color, 45% of the attendees are women of color, and 15% of the speakers and attendees are transgender or gender-nonconforming. Together, both the San Francisco and London summits have a total of 35 chapters worldwide, and the 5th annual summit will take place in March of 2018.

 

These Summits are where much of the Lesbians Who Tech work takes place. Over 5,000 lesbians, queer women, and allies across all areas of technology gather to discuss issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community and create plans of action—particularly with the use of technology—to combat oppressive social normality’s. These summits feature speakers, such as Tegan and Sara (musicians/activists), Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter co-founder), and Kate Kendell (Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights). These speakers provide practical advice for thinking about new and innovative ways to create workplace diversity, particularly in tech. Lesbians Who Tech also provides a scholarship program called “The 2017 Eddie Windsor Coding Scholarship for Gender Nonconforming and LGBTQ Women,” which funds a recipient’s coding tuition by 50%. Another program the organization provides is the Bring a Lesbian to Work Day—a one-day shadow career program. Overall, Lesbians Who Tech works to “increase visibility and improve representation among LGBTQ women in the tech sector on a global scale” through their annual summits, LGBTQ scholarships, and career programs.

 

Black and Pink: http://www.blackandpink.org

Black and Pink is a grassroots coalition of activists seeking prison abolition and immediate harm reduction for LGBTQ and HIV+ prisoners in the United States. Since it was founded in 2007, Black and Pink has grown to reach over nine thousand prisoners, with additional reach to allies in the “free world.” As an abolitionist organization, Black and Pink seeks justice and restitution for all prisoners, but recognizes that LGBTQ and HIV+ people, many of whom are also people of color, low-income, and disabled, face even greater hardship than the rest of the prison population and are frequently singled out for violence and discrimination. To reduce harm for these individuals as activists work towards ending the prison industrial complex, Black and Pink operates several programs.

 

First, Black and Pink publishes a monthly newspaper containing articles, art, and creative writing from LGBTQ people in prison alongside LGBTQ and prison news from the “free world.” Since many prisons forbid inmates from writing to other incarcerated people, this newsletter provides a medium for communication and networking among incarcerated people that would otherwise not be available. It also contains important resources to alleviate some hardships of prison life, such as a calendar so recipients in solitary confinement can keep track of the days, and a list of further resources offered by Black and Pink and allied organizations.

 

The other major project Black and Pink sponsors is a pen pal program for “free world” allies to write to LGBTQ prisoners. A pen pal on the outside can not only serve as a friend, or in many cases, potential lover or participant in erotic correspondence for an individual but can help ward off violence in the prison. Since mail call often happens in public spaces within the prison, incoming letters remind other inmates and prison staff that the recipient is not forgotten by those on the outside, reducing the possibility that they will be target for discrimination or violence.

Additionally, with funds raised from individual donors and allied organizations, Black and Pink has begun a court accompaniment program, currently limited to Eastern Massachusetts, various media projects to spread awareness of prison abolition work, and workshops and training events for “free world” allies to begin activism. They also publish several smaller zines, such as a religious zine and a member-written erotica zine called “Hot Pink.” Allies wishing to become involved can donate to the cause, write to a pen pal, or start a local chapter to focus on local outreach. Throughout its branches, Black and Pink keeps its work centered and accountable by placing currently or formerly incarcerated LGBTQ and HIV+ people in positions of influence and leadership and maintaining close relationships with other grassroots organizations doing work in prison abolition and adjacent radical work.

 

Oklahomans for Equality: http://www.okeq.org

Oklahomans for Equality (OkEq) was founded in 1980 as Tulsa Oklahomans for Human Rights. Initially a primarily social organization, the alliance founded the first Tulsa Pride. With the onset of the AIDS epidemic, OkEq opened an anonymous HIV testing clinic and began educational programs for the community that branched off in 1998 to form the sister organization Health Outreach, Prevention, and Education. The first community center opened in 1996, moving between several locations before finally raising the funds to purchase its current 18,000 square-foot building, the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, the only center in the state of Oklahoma, which opened in February 2007.

 

From this location, OkEq runs a variety of programs for LGBTQ Oklahomans. Specifically, they offer support groups for bisexuals, LGBTQ older adults, transgender youth and adults, and women, alongside an LGBTQ history project, a business alliance, and a group for queer families. There are no programs listed specifically for gay men and the lesbian group, while listed, has not been active in several years, although the women’s football and roller derby teams do offer networking opportunities for lesbians.  Continuing its relationship with H.O.P.E., the center continues to offer free, anonymous HIV tests for men who have sex with men and intravenous drug users as well as anonymous alcohol abuse counseling. It also has a lending library of LGBTQ books, an art gallery, and space for LGBTQ events.

 

Additionally, OkEq plans and hosts Tulsa Pride, largely through corporate sponsorships and volunteer efforts. Other events include the Rainbow Run, an Equality Gala, and Pride Bingo. The center also informs the community of upcoming bills in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate that affect members of the LGBTQ community, be they specifically related to gender and sexuality or regarding connected issues like immigration, education, and reproductive rights.

Although the organization initially faced pushback when looking for a permanent location, the community rallied to support OkEq after a drive-by shooter fired thirteen shots into the building’s front windows and entryway in March 2017 and, in a separate incident, individuals entered the building and exhibited violent and threatening behavior toward the volunteers running the front desk. In a matter of months, Tulsans and local businesses partnered with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation to raise $35,000 to replace the broken windows with bullet-resistant glass, install a security system, add a commercial kitchen to be used in meal programs and event catering, add three rooms to the medical clinic, and convert space into the Lynn Riggs Black Box Theater for community performances. The theater’s namesake was a gay playwright from Claremore, Oklahoma, best known for “Green Grows the Lilacs,” which was later adapted into the well-known musical “Oklahoma!” Going forward, OkEq continues to focus not only on political action, but on fostering an environment for LGBTQ artists within Tulsa’s rapidly growing arts and music scene.

 

Sibling Rivalry Press: https://siblingrivalrypress.com/

Sibling Rivalry Press is a small nonprofit printing publishing company based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Founded in 2010, the press is run by founder Bryan Borland and his husband Seth Pennington. Their mission is to champion LGTBQ authors—basically anyone regardless of sexual orientation or identity. They look for work that disturbs and enraptures—their motto taken from Adrienne Rich, who said in a 1999 interview:

“There’s a lot of what I would call comfortable poetry around. But then there is all this other stuff going on — which is wilder, which is bristling; it’s juicier, it’s everything that you would want. And it’s not comfortable. That’s the kind of poetry that interests me — a field of energy. It’s intellectual and moral and political and sexual and sensual — all of that fermenting together. It can speak to people who have themselves felt like monsters and say you are not alone; this is not monstrous. It can disturb and enrapture.”

They are the only small or large press to win Lambda Literary Awards in both Gay Poetry and Lesbian Poetry. Additionally, the American Library Association has honored 22 of their titles on their annual list of recommended LGBT reading list and put three authors on their top-10 favorites.

 

In their own words, “Sibling Rivalry Press is an Arkansas-based company whose mission is to promote underground artistic talent – those who don’t quite fit into the mainstream. Sibling Rivalry Press wants to be a bad influence on otherwise good kids. Sibling Rivalry Press wants to make artistic outlaws. Sibling Rivalry Press wants to get you laid – via literature. Sibling Rivalry Press wants to get you drunk – on your own creative juices. And no matter how many Sibling Rivalry Press titles you read, you won’t go blind or grow hair on your palms. To get to know us better, visit our website, where you’ll learn all kinds of cool stuff about us.”

 

The last question on the FAQ page speaks to their mission:

Q: Do you love me?

A: Yes. We love you.

 

Sibling Rivalry Press is part of the Fracture Atlas nonprofit arts service organization.

 

Equality Texas: https://www.equalitytexas.org/

The Lone Star State can be a pretty daunting place for an LGTBQ youth growing up—or any LGTBQ adult. And, while it is hard to be someone the vast majority of those around you hate, there are those fighting for your rights. People like those at Equality Texas. Founded in 1978 by a group of lesbians and gay men, they’ve fought for the rights of Texas’s LGTBQ population. They’ve changed since then, in 1980 becoming Lesbian/Gay Democrats of Texas and the Texas Gay Task Force. In 1989, they became Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas which hired a full-time Executive Director to fight for the rights of LGTBQ persons. In 2006, LGRL became Equality Texas: a change that reflected the enormous growth of the organization.

With offices in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, Equality Texas has four main missions—the Equality Project, TransVisible Project, Transforward: Tx Transgender Health, and Keep Texas Open for Business—all of which center around their core values of ending discrimination, building strong families, protecting youth, and preventing violence.

An overview of their programs:

Equality Project: “The Equality Project is a public education and civic engagement program on policy issues and their effect on Texas citizens. The Project also trains participants to establish relationships with their state representatives and senators, and to advocate for policy changes with their elected officials.” This training can be brought to your own town by emailing Robert Salcido at robert.Salcido@equalitytexas.org.

TransVisible Project: “The TransVisible Project is a broad public education campaign to reduce prejudice against transgender Texans by effectively communicating their powerful stories through media. Project participants introduce themselves through portrait photography, shareable public awareness videos, and professionally produced B-roll footage – with all tools readily available to broadcast and online news sources.” There are many of these videos on the TransVisibile Project page.

Transforward: “TransForward – Texas Transgender Health is a collaboration between Equality Texas Foundation, a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization, and the Texas Health Institute, a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization. The Equality Texas Foundation works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through education, community organizing, and collaboration.” https://transforward.texashealthinstitute.org/about/

 

Keep Texas Open for Business: “More than 300 small businesses are standing together with one clear message: Texas must stay open for business to everyone. These small businesses, spanning from every region of the state, have watched North Carolina’s economy plummet after lawmakers passed harmful anti-LGBT legislation – and now, they’re raising their voices to ensure Texas avoids similar devastation.”

 

Lambda Literary http://www.lambdaliterary.org

Lambda Literary is an organization that seeks to promote LGBT and queer writers and literature. It is based in Los Angeles, California and consists of a web magazine, various events, as well as an awards ceremony hosted every year. The organization produces a web journal, Lambda Book Report, with submissions from queer writers. Lambda Literary hosts the Lambda Awards in which they recognize queer literature and authors published in that year. It has also just recently started a program where LGBT authors will go and visit schools to talk about queer literature. The organization began with the publication of its first Book Report in 1987 done by the Lambda Literary Bookstore in DC. It became a 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization—meaning its donations are not limited in amount and the organization cannot participate in political campaigns—in 1997.

 

Some of their prominent, and featured under the mission statement, page sponsors are Penguin Publishing, the Los Angeles Arts Commission, Amazon, National Endowment for the Arts, and the David Bohnett Foundation. Amazon is given credit for a $25,000-50,000 donation and the Los Angeles Arts Commission and Penguin Publishing a $5,000-9,999 donation. The website gives credit to Amazon for funding the Emerging Writers Retreat in 2015. Anyone can be a part of the Winner’s Circle by donating ten dollars a month. I was unable to find an amount for the David Bohnett Foundation. The website provided updates for the foundation as recently as 2015; however, the rest of the website seems to be updated fairly regularly.

 

The organization also produces a book club which meets once a week in LA. This service allows for people to meet with others, develop their own ideas, as well as having an opportunity/motivation to read. They provide the book list on the website for people that do not live in the area which is helpful so they can follow along. They do host an online book club with a different reading list than the one for the physical book club. They do provide reading questions for each book, a summary, author biography, and book reviews. The website provides a list of LGBTQIA bookstores for every state (although there is not one listed for Arkansas) as well as a list of publishers. Besides the book club, they did not seem to have any upcoming events. Their first literary festival was held in 2017.

 

 Lawton/Ft Sill Oklahoma Pride

http://lawtonftsillpride.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lawtonprideoklahoma/

The purpose of Lawton/Ft. Sill Pride is to promote diversity in the civilian and military population of Lawton and Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.  The focus of LFS Pride is to “promote and celebrate pride, diversity, equality, and community, primarily related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, in Lawton, Oklahoma and its surrounding areas. The mission of the Lawton PRIDE is providing leadership to meet the needs of the LGBT community through awareness, health, and educational services” (Lawton Ft. Sill Pride Facebook).  Not only does the LFS Pride service a large population of military personnel and their families and civilians, but it also serves a large Kiowa and Comanche Native American population.  I spoke with Natalie Bennett, a former member of LFS Pride about the way the organization functions.  Mrs. Bennett was a member between 2012 and 2014 when she lived in the area.  Membership and participation in LFS Pride was very inclusive and active.  It is sponsored by a 501c3 organization, Rising Phoenix, primarily focused on education, health and safety, and other resources.  While the board members of both Rising Phoenix and LFS Pride are LGBTQIA adults, a majority of the LFS Pride population is made up of young people.  Mrs. Bennett stated that LFS Pride meetings, held weekly, were a safe haven for young people to talk openly about various topics ranging from coming out to one’s parents to dealing with bullies at school and work.  Mrs. Bennett stated she was never asked about her identification or orientation when she sought membership, and no one seemed to be concerned with that information during the term of her membership and participation.  She claimed her family was open about that sort of thing, and for her, membership offered a place to find people her own age who were more like her.  LFS Pride sponsored trips to annual Pride Parades in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, as well as monthly picnics in the area.  They also sponsored dances for LGBTQIA youth as safe alternatives to prom and Homecoming.  Their website and Facebook page give them some outreach, but outreach is based primarily on word of mouth from members and community supporters.  The three high schools in the Lawton/Ft. Sill area also offer information discretely to students about LFS Pride.  The weekly meetings and board meetings are held in the Unitarian Universalist church building, and LFS Pride is strongly connected to the UU church organization and membership.  The UU Church also assists in sponsoring various events through fund raising.

 

Cameron University P.R.I.D.E. (People Respecting Individuality Diversity Equality)

http://www.cameron.edu/wellnesscenter/lgbt

https://www.facebook.com/CAMERONUNIVPRIDE/?ref=br_rs

Cameron P.R.I.D.E. is an LGBT organization servicing university student in the Lawton/Ft. Sill area as well.  This organization differs from LFS Pride mainly in the demographics of the membership.  Members are primarily college students.  “PRIDE provides support and advocacy for all gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and gay-friendly heterosexuals within Cameron University and surrounding communities” Another way that CU P.R.I.D.E. differs from LFS Pride is that it is a Gay/Straight Alliance organization, meaning that it is an open organization.  I spoke with Ms. Natalie Finley about her involvement with the organization, and she said it is also a very inclusive group.  Ms. Finley is also a member of LFS Pride, and she states the two organizations work together often.  Because many LFS Pride youth wind up staying in the area after high school and attending the university, the connection between the two organizations also helps young people transition from high school to college.  CU P.R.I.D.E. has a much greater outreach program through the University’s diversity policies, but one issue I have with the outreach at Cameron University is that it is mostly linked in with the university’s wellness center, which encompasses the mental health clinic on campus.  In fact, the link to CU P.R.I.D.E. on the university’s web page is from within the wellness center.  While it’s important to have strong connections with health care, LGBTQIA students should not have to deal any longer with the medical establishment’s stigma associated with their identity.  I doubt that in practice this affiliation makes much difference for these students, though.  Many of the local students are already familiar with CU P.R.I.D.E. because of its association with LFS Pride.  CU P.R.I.D.E. meets weekly, holds potlucks and picnics, sponsors trips to Oklahoma City and Tulsa for Pride events and parades in coordination with LFS Pride.  CU P.R.I.D.E. also functions as a social group for university students, as well as a safe space to talk about coming out on campus, safety on campus, and dating safety. Among the various events hosted by CU P.R.I.D.E., a Matthew Shepard/Coming Out celebration is held annually on campus on October 11.  There is also an annual Harvey Milk Memorial March, various panel discussion groups, and Q&A sessions which are held on campus and typically open to the public.  CU P.R.I.D.E does a great deal of work celebrating the lives and legacies of important men and women who have been important to the history of LGBTQIA communities.

 

The purpose of Lawton/Ft. Sill Pride is to promote diversity in the civilian and military population of Lawton and Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.  The focus of LFS Pride is to “promote and celebrate pride, diversity, equality, and community, primarily related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, in Lawton, Oklahoma and its surrounding areas. The mission of the Lawton PRIDE is providing leadership to meet the needs of the LGBT community through awareness, health, and educational services” (Lawton Ft. Sill Pride Facebook).  Not only does the LFS Pride service a large population of military personnel and their families and civilians, but it also serves a large Kiowa and Comanche Native American population.  I spoke with Natalie Bennett, a former member of LFS Pride about the way the organization functions.  Mrs. Bennett was a member between 2012 and 2014 when she lived in the area.  Membership and participation in LFS Pride was very inclusive and active.  It is sponsored by a 501c3 organization, Rising Phoenix, primarily focused on education, health and safety, and other resources.  While the board members of both Rising Phoenix and LFS Pride are LGBTQIA adults, a majority of the LFS Pride population is made up of young people.  Mrs. Bennett stated that LFS Pride meetings, held weekly, were a safe haven for young people to talk openly about various topics ranging from coming out to one’s parents to dealing with bullies at school and work.  Mrs. Bennett stated she was never asked about her identification or orientation when she sought membership, and no one seemed to be concerned with that information during the term of her membership and participation.  She claimed her family was open about that sort of thing, and for her, membership offered a place to find people her own age who were more like her.  LFS Pride sponsored trips to annual Pride Parades in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, as well as monthly picnics in the area.  They also sponsored dances for LGBTQIA youth as safe alternatives to prom and Homecoming.  Their website and Facebook page give them some outreach, but outreach is based primarily on word of mouth from members and community supporters.  The three high schools in the Lawton/Ft. Sill area also offer information discretely to students about LFS Pride.  The weekly meetings and board meetings are held in the Unitarian Universalist church building, and LFS Pride is strongly connected to the UU church organization and membership.  The UU Church also assists in sponsoring various events through fund raising.

 

SAGE: Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders: https://www.sageusa.org/

SAGE is the nation’s first municipally funded LGBT senior center. It was founded in 1978 in New York to give a voice to the LGBT elderly in the LGBT civil rights movement. Today, they have locations in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Harlem, and a correspondent in the Staten Island LGBT center. A promotional video on their website claims that the organization will have reached 500,000 LGBT seniors by 2021 and will have “advanced” 500 LGBT and age-friendly communities. SAGE is funded by The Calamus Foundation, Citi Community Development, and others. Their website states that “there are at least 3 million LGBT people over 55 in the United States,” a statistic that was gleaned from a federal aging survey featuring questions about the LGBT community that appeared in 2014, which were later removed in 2017 by the Trump administration. In response, SAGE gathered more than 20,000 signatures in protest and were able to keep survey questions pertaining to the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community, although the trans questions (and therefore the trans elders) were excluded, a sign that the organization must keep fighting for equality. Many of the older LGBT people live alone (34%) and many fear growing old alone (32%), therefore the community offered by this organization is important, if not necessary. The SAGE website lists its core values as diversity and equity; collaborative teamwork and partnership; innovation; LGBT older voices come first; top performance in a diverse marketplace; and respect and compassion.

 

According to an article about SAGE and its function in the lives of these people, LGBT seniors are only 20% as likely as heterosexual elders to access needed services such as senior centers, housing assistance, meal programs, food stamps, and other entitlements” (232). This stems from a fear of the mainstream, a result of historical homophobic discrimination. Ironically, these elders often need more assistance than their heterosexual counterparts because many “have no children or partners to offer them daily assistance” (232). SAGE helps a group that was marginalized throughout their lives for being queer, and now, for their old age. I was personally surprised this group existed, which could possibly speak to the invisibility this group might have on a national scale, and which they are fighting against.

 

Kling, Elizabeth, and Douglas Kimmel. “SAGE: New York City’s Pioneer Organization for LGBT Elders.” Columbia University Press, New York Chichester, West Sussex, 2015.

 

NWA Center for Equality: https://nwaequality.org/

This organization is located on Church Street in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was the only local “pro LGBT” group that appeared on google. (Full disclosure: I did not even know it existed). It was founded in 2006 and eventually operated under its current name in 2009. In 2015, it merged with NWA Pride Parade Inc., which allowed for more outreach and resources, and thus, became known as NWA Center for Equality, Inc.

Northwest Arkansas Equality, Inc is a public charity. This organization operates the Arthur Beeghly LGBTQ Resource Center and owns the trademark and operational rights to the official events of Northwest Arkansas Pride. The organization educates, advocates, and offers resources and service organizations to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) citizens of Benton and Washington Counties. They call themselves “the regional voice for equality and inclusion.” They also provide free HIV testing services, support groups, and help organize events in the community. Every summer, they host Arkansas’ largest LGBTQ pride celebration, Northwest Arkansas Pride.

 

They aim to create an environment that “embraces and supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community of Northwest Arkansas”.

Their programs include Advocacy & Support Services (education, policies, support groups, transgender services), HIV Testing & Education (free, confidential testing), Out & About (LGBT community events and activities).

 

Their mission statement is “a grassroots support and advocacy movement working to achieve full equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community in Northwest Arkansas.” Their vision statement is “To see a time when all have the right to be themselves regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation and without fear of harassment or discrimination. We dream and work for full legal rights and social equality in our local communities and beyond.”

 

At first, I thought that this organization might be out of touch with the local community. Several of the events featured on their website’s homepage are from 2016. But after looking at their Facebook page, I saw that there was a decent—although generally underwhelming—amount of interaction with the community. The top comment was by local politician, Mark Kinion, a candidate for the Arkansas State House of Representatives—a comment that got me to “friend” him—which demonstratives the political value of aligning oneself with this group (manipulatively, or not) in Northwest Arkansas politics. However, a post they made featuring Arkansas Senator Jason Rapert’s anti-LGBT views demonstrates the absolute necessity of groups such as the NWA Center for Equality in our current political landscape:

 

World Pride Panama: https://www.facebook.com/worldpridepanama

World Pride Panama is the main pro LGBTQIA+ in Panama. In a sea of homophobia and ignorance deeply rooted in religion, this organization seems to stay on float providing visibility to the LGBTQIA+ community. The organization faces quite a bit of backlash from the larger sector of the population that still opposes same sex marriage or simply the recognition of same sex marriage performed outside the country. World Pride Panama is in charge of the pride parade which is the biggest event in the fight for visibility and equal rights of LGBTQIA+ people.

 

            World Pride Panama was created by queer people of diverse backgrounds that includes TV personalities, lawyers, and journalist that were concerned about visibility and respectful representation of queer individuals in media. The organization also focuses on activism. They fight for the rights of the community, but their main focus is representation. Since political change is extremely difficult to achieve in Panama, the focus their work on representation of LGBTQIA+ people. They also pair up with local celebrities in order to advocate for change in the way people see queer individuals.

 

Their mission statement can be roughly translated to “We are an organization that seeks to improve the visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community in Panama. Also, we seek to organize cultural, educational and entertainment meetings with political incidence in the country. We seek better the quality of life of queer people, empowering them for the recognition of their rights, and we aim for a more inclusive Panama with one of our important missions is the research and development of the tourism industry LGBTQIA+ worldwide”.

 

Donations for this organizations tend to come from the private sector. There are no subsides that go towards the World Pride Panama. In general, the government of Panama shows little to no support to the LGBTQIA+ community. Under the premise of religion, the government has ignored the necessities of the community for decades. Although this organization does not focus on sexual education among the community, it must be said that the lack of effort from the government of Panama has led to the breakout of sexually transmitted diseases among the LGBTQIA+ community in the early 2000s. The private donations the organization receives are very discrete since many donors, despite believing in the cause, prefer to remain anonymous due to fear of loss of consumers and social repercussion. The public donors and sponsors of World Pride Panama are radio and television stations which aligns with their mission of improving representation in media in Panama.

 

World Pride Panama takes volunteers for its biggest event: Panama pride. This is the only pride parade or event celebrated in the whole country. Although they receiver protests from different religious groups every year, they have managed to keep going on with the parade and making it a bigger and more celebrated event every year.

 

Although it is not a political organization, World Pride Panama has done a great job reshaping the distorted perception of queer people that Panamanians have had for decades.

 

The Zebra Coalition: www.zebrayouth.org

The Zebra Coalition is an organization based of Orlando, Florida that offers shelter to LGBTQIA+ youth that do not have a home. Their mission statement, which is accessible in www.zebrayouth.orgstates that “the mission of Zebra Coalition is to support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth. Zebra Coalition is a network of organizations, which provide services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all youth (LGBTQ+) ages 13 – 24. The Coalition assists young people facing homelessness, bullying, isolation from their families, and physical, sexual and drug abuse with individualized programs to guide them to recovery and stability.”

The Zebra Coalition has a great volunteer program in which one can volunteer in a group or as individuals. They offer a one hour of volunteer information session and then after the hour one can chose what volunteer path take within the organization. They partner with different organizations, including the Orlando Police Department that help the organization make contact with individuals that truly need their services. They also partner with different academic organizations which includes the Orange County Public Schools that help them aid LGBTQIA+ youth that are in abusive homes, scape their homes, or get thrown out of their houses due to their identity.

They offer counseling and psychological services to LGBTQIA+ youth at risk. According to their website, they “offer counseling services that are tailored to benefit LGBTQ+ youth in strengthening their relationships and family bonds by providing an open and supportive environment to explore the dynamics that challenge healthy relationships for the LGBTQ+ person and their loved ones”. They also offer case managers that act as social workers and life coaches for the youth at risk. According to them, “the goal for each case manager is to mentor the youth and build a relationship of trust while meeting tangible needs.”

            They also offer community leadership programs in which they train these young people to become active leaders within the community. This leadership experience is crucial when it comes to obtaining their first job and in achieving academic success. They focus on the professional development of LGBTQIA+ at risk, and their leadership role within the community. According to their website, they do this by “helping to find hope, dignity and self-respect and to provide them an opportunity to grow up in a safe, healthy and supportive environment.” Also, the Zebra Coalition focuses on creating safe places within the community for LGBTQIA+ youth could shine.

            Lastly, the most important of the services that this organization offers is housing for homeless LGBTQ+ youth. Queer youth are at much higher risk of facing homelessness. Queer youth also experience high risks of domestic violence and sexual violence. According to the Trevor Project, queer youth that are expelled from their homes “are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.” The job this organization does seems to be formidable, and extremely necessary since despite “moving forward as a society” many of these young people still experience extreme homophobia and discrimination.

 

Matthew Shepard Foundation (https://www.matthewshepard.org/)

As stated on their front page, the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s mission statement is to empower individuals to embrace human dignity and diversity through outreach, advocacy, and research programs. They strive to replace hate with understanding, compassion, and acceptance. The Foundation tries to raise awareness and promote human dignity for everyone by engaging schools, corporations, and individuals in dialogues, which take many forms: some are presentation, others interactive seminars, still others web-based.

Twenty-one year old Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die on October 7, 1998. He succumbed to his wounds on October 12, 1998, and in the aftermath of his death, his parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, started the Matthew Shepard Foundation, in order to help prevent such hate crimes from happening again. The beginning principle of the Foundation was working with parents whose children who might be questioning their sexualities, and teaching those parents to love and accept their children for who they were rather than throwing them away. The Foundation acknowledges that there are other LGBTQ+ groups which advocate for various issues, but the Foundation campaigns not only for gay rights but also for human dignity and acceptance. Their advantage comes from an ability to speak to diverse audiences from the perspective of parents.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation is a nonprofit organization. Their website features multiple ways for one to give: donation, the Erase Hate Campaign, the Combined Federal Campaign, Employer Matching, legacy giving, several purchasing partners, etc. The Foundation also has opportunities for volunteers in a variety of administrative, programmatic, and/or event functions.

The Foundation has:

  • provided voice and support for LGBT youth with its online resource center Matthew’s Place
  • helped pioneer the nation’s first federal hate crimes legislation with the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act
  • created dialogue about hate and acceptance within special communities with special support for The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later

Their Work:

  • Hate Crimes Reporting
  • Laramie Project Support
    • The Laramie Project is a play created from transcripts of interviews of people in Laramie, WY; it tells the story of real people who lived at the epicenter of one of the nation’s most heinous anti-gay hate crimes
    • The Matthew Shepard Foundation supports dozens of productions of The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project: Ten Years Latereach year across the country
    • The Foundation provides media resources (including photography and video), historical background/cultural context, creative consultation, and post-show discussions/community conversations
  • com
    • Words by and for LGBTQ+ youth
    • LGBTQ news, politics, health, LGBTQ A-Z, LGBTQ symbols, coming out resources
  • Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine
    • Winner of the 2016 ‘Outstanding Special Class Special’ Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Award
    • Documentary feature film that tells the story of Matt’s life through his friends, family, and those who were close to him
    • Directed by a close friend of Matt’s, Michele Josue
  • Speaking Engagements
    • Productions of The Laramie Project
    • Hate Crimes Reporting Conferences and Training
    • Employee Resource Groups and other workplace settings
    • Elementary and secondary schools
    • Colleges, universities, and educators’ conferences
    • Screenings of Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine
    • S. Embassies in partnership with the State Department
  • Reports and Publications
    • Resources
    • Newsletters
    • Annual Reports

The Foundation’s Hate Crimes Reporting and Prevention Initiative features:

  • Breakdown of current Hate Crimes Laws in the United States
  • How they are working to make communities safer
  • HRC’s 2014 “A Guide to State-Level Advocacy Following Enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act”
  • Infographic: Gaps in Hate Crimes Reporting
    • Statistics, incidents, types of hate crimes, etc.
    • Data pulled from FBI Hate Crimes Statistics and National Crime Victimization Survey

Volunteers help with:

  • Assisting in mailings for newsletters and holiday cards
  • Pursuing items to be included in the silence auction at the Foundation’s Annual Honor Gala
  • Promoting the Foundation’s mission at public events such as PrideFest or productions of The Laramie Project
  • Assisting staff with guest services, event set-up, and ticket sales
  • Canvassing and community engagement to generate awareness for programs and upcoming events

 

It Gets Better Project (https://itgetsbetter.org/)

Begun in 2010, the It Gets Better Project is a nonprofit organization with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth around the world. The Project seeks to show that although growing up can be challenging or isolating, especially when also trying to affirm and assert your sexual orientation and/or gender identity, no one has to do it alone. The It Gets Better Project began as a wildly successful social media campaign after Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller, said the titular three words of the project, and then over time the project grew and evolved into a major, multi-media platform capable of reaching millions. The Project reaches young people through media programming, a growing network of international affiliates, and an arsenal of community-based service providers.  

The It Gets Better Project’s vision is one of a world where all LGBTQ+ youth are free to live equally and know their worthiness and power as individuals. Their mission is fulfilled through two ways: storytelling and building communities.  

Storytelling:

  • The Project connects young LGBTQ+ people with the global LGBTQ+ community by providing access to uplifting stories of hope, resilience, and determination, as told by members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies
  • The Project has a library of thousands of videos featuring stories from authors, activists, actors, musicians, etc. Recent videos include:
    • “She-Ra” Showrunner Noelle Stevenson
    • “One Day At A Time” Showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett
    • Author and Activist Blair Imani
  • Other videos include:
    • Ian McKellen
    • President Obama
    • Adam Lambert
    • Laverne Cox
  • The Project also has original content series

 

Building Communities:

  • builds community internationally and locally
  • cultivates a growing list of international affiliates that have embraced the It Gets Better Project’s mission to help support LGBTQ+ youth in their own countries
    • Affiliates are located in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Greece, India, Italy, Mexico, Moldova, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Russia, United Kingdom, Spain, and Switzerland
  • engages with LGBTQ+ youth on online and offline
  • connects LGBTQ+ youth with local community service providers that are able to provide on the ground assistance

It Gets Better provides access to sites/information LGBTQ+ youth might need if in crisis:

  • Crisis Text Line
  • National Runaway Safeline
  • Trans Lifeline
  • The Trevor Project

Other resources include:

  • Campus Pride
  • Equaldex
  • Outcare Health
  • PFLAG
  • Support search via location or specific tags:
    • Community, crisis, education, family, housing, legal, medical, mental health, social services

Ways to get involved with the It Gets Better Project:

  • Become part of the global movement and join supporters by taking the It Gets Better pledge
  • Share your story
    • Share a video
    • Write a story
  • Educate your community
    • It Gets Better EDU
    • EduGuides to accompany some of the Project’s videos, films, books, etc.
    • School visits and group presentations
    • LGBTQ+ Glossary
  • Connect on social media
  • Volunteer

The It Gets Better Project is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Financial information from 2014-2017 is available online. The It Gets Better Project relies on interns and volunteers, some in the main office of the Project and some available for anyone anywhere. Volunteer positions include:

  • Graphic Design volunteer
  • Curriculum writing
  • Affiliate Director, It Gets Better [Country]
  • Youth Outreach
  • Education and Global Programming (intern/volunteer)
  • Media (intern/volunteer)

The It Gets Better Project is largely a storytelling organization. However, their educational outreach is accessible and inclusive – the It Gets Better Project includes resources for LGBTQ+ youths of color, migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, resources for trans, GNC, and intersex youth, and their ‘Get Help’ Database could be very valuable to LGBTQ+ youth, whether in crisis or struggling. While storytelling is not the be-all end-all of activism and help to give to LGBTQ+ youth, it provides valuable resources and their mission of hope can function to help those LGBTQ+ youth who are struggling with their fears of the future.

Transgender Law Center: https://www.transgenderlawcenter.org

The Transgender Law Center, which was launched in 2002 and is based in Oakland, California, is self-described as “the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.” Their work includes legal intervention and assistance for trans persons, workshops providing legal information, nationwide and local activism, research studies on social and political issues facing trans persons, and other programs for trans individuals. The Transgender Law Center works to change laws, policies, and attitudes so that all TGNC (Transgender, Gender-Expansive and Gender-Nonconforming) people can “live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.” The group is responsible for groundbreaking legal work that has impacted the nation at large, including a revision of San Francisco’s “Regulations to Prohibit Gender Identity Discrimination” in 2003 that helped protect queer (including trans and non-binary) folks from housing and employment discrimination.

The Transgender Law Center is responsible for a variety of social and legal programs. These include the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, the Detention Project, the National Training Institute, Positive Trans (T+), TLC@SONG (Transgender Law Center @ Southerners on New Ground), Trans Immigrant Defense Effort (TIDE), TRUTH, and other volunteer programs. Each of these programs is meant to help trans folks in different situations. This particularly includes trans people who may have other intersecting identities that cause them to be more vulnerable; these include trans youth, trans persons in the South, trans minorities and immigrants, and others. In addition to these programs, the Transgender Law Center offers resources and publications to help the community with issues ranging from employment to immigration. They also have a blog that posts daily, or even several times a day, on issues facing the trans community.

As a legal organization, they take a variety of cases, including those related to employment, family law, health, housing, identity documents, immigration, prisons and policing, public accommodations, and trans youth. Their cases are selected carefully, however, with the overall goal of visibility and advancement. According to their website, “Transgender Law Center’s attorneys bring strategic lawsuits around the country in cases that present the opportunity to move the law forward for everyone in our community, particularly those most vulnerable—including low-income, homeless, and incarcerated people, people living in rural parts of the country, and transgender youth. Our cases also seek to guarantee access to healthcare and ID documents for all transgender people so that we can all live freely and safely as our authentic selves.”

The Transgender Law Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. They rely heavily on donations to provide resources for advancing the rights of TGNC people at large. According to Charity Navigator, an independent nonprofit review site, 77% of their expenses go to the programs and services they deliver, with the rest going to administrative, fundraising, and program growth expenses and liabilities/assets (in a move criticized by some, the executive director of the center made a six-figure income in 2016). In 2016, the Transgender Law Center received just over three million dollars from contributions, gifts, grants, and fundraising Ninety-four percent of that total came from contributions, and only 2% came from government grants, proving the importance of individual contributions to the organization. On the other hand, though the expenses breakdown is easily visible, the review site states that the donor policy and audited financials are difficult or impossible to access, which reduces overall visibility and transparency regarding donations despite the Transgender Law Center’s expenses breakdown. There has been an increase in overall spending and donations each year, displaying the center’s growing role in the transgender community.

The growth of the Transgender Law Center is another important aspect of the trans community; because the Transgender Law Center is a national project run primarily by trans people, they employ many trans workers and lawyers, effectively fighting (if only at a small scale) the high unemployment rate of trans persons. Additionally, the center has opportunities beyond personal donation, such as hosting a benefit party, and volunteer opportunities for both attorneys and laypersons. The Legal Resistance Network provides pro bono support to trans persons, and The Community Resistance Network supports the trans community through the center’s helpline, the Detention Project, and TIDE. Though the center does have some aspects that are not perfect, their work within the transgender community has been hugely beneficial.

 

Freedom Oklahoma: https://www.freedomoklahoma.org

Freedom Oklahoma is a nonprofit LGBTQIA+ organization located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is the result of a merger of the Cimarron Alliance Equality Center (founded in 1995) and The Equality Network; the two organizations merged in 2015 to create Freedom Oklahoma. Their mission statement is succinct and seems almost easy: “Create space. Share tools. Build movements.” Unfortunately, in a state like Oklahoma, that mission statement is far easier said than done. Their website states that they “envision an Oklahoma in which every person has the guaranteed right to live an authentic life free of discrimination and inequity. Freedom Oklahoma is driven by the core belief that Oklahomans of every sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity should have equal protection under the law and true and full lived equality in their home state.” Though their website states that they are an LGBTQ organization (leaving out the I, A, and +), their work indicates a greater contribution to different citizens who may fall under any of those labels.

The site states that they rely on “change-agents”, both queer folks and allies, and that “Freedom Oklahoma advocates for lived equality for LGBTQ Oklahomans. We educate allies on inclusive practices, raise awareness about issues that discriminate, build local movements for equality. We serve as the voice when our community is attacked and create gathering space for our triumphs. None of this work is possible without people like you. Join us in securing freedom for everyone.” From a rhetorical standpoint, their call-to-action is very successful and compelling. They suggest attending an event, volunteering, and donating to Freedom Oklahoma. They host fundraising events, including the annual Equality Run which has sponsors from throughout Oklahoma. They also have volunteer opportunities for queer folks and allies, such as staffing an event, creating storytelling videos, sending emails and writing letters, writing petitions and grants, and canvassing. Their opportunities include work with family-friendly events, showing their desire to incorporate persons of all ages in the fight for equality for LGBTQIA+ folks.

The work that Freedom Oklahoma does is aptly named, because LGBTQIA+ people have faced such social and political struggles to experience even half of the freedoms given to straight Oklahomans. Because Oklahoma is a historically conservative and religious (particularly Evangelical Christian) state, LGBTQIA+ organizations are battling not just legislative injustice from lawmakers who are supported by religious organizations, but overall intolerance, lack of acceptance, and even outright hatred from the average citizen. Their newsroom page shows recent advocacy from the group, including their rejection of the discriminatory transgender military ban and their support of HBs 2455 and 2456, which would modify the phrase ‘protected class’ to include LGBT citizens and would ban the practice of conversion therapy on minors, respectively. The site’s website features many images of LGBTQIA+ families, particularly couples and couples with children. In many ways, the website is attempting to normalize the idea of queer families. The website does not mention the recent firing of its longtime director Troy Stevenson, who was known for bipartisan communication that often alienated members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Stevenson’s friendship with Republican legislators caused frustration and feelings of betrayal in a community that has been so violently attacked by the Republican party. This discrimination was seen as cause to remove a longstanding member of the community who allied himself with legislators who saw, or see, queer people as “deviant” or “mentally ill”; the community’s desire is to educate Oklahomans and to encourage support of queer people as people.

According to their website, Freedom Oklahoma’s goal is to not only educate citizens, but also to protect LGBTQIA+ people from discrimination. Their programs include Legislative Advocacy 101 (which teaches queer people and allies how to track and advocate for a bill and “helps citizens be more engaged civically and empowered to make a change”) and College Summit (which allows LGBTQIA+ and ally students from across the state to meet, network, and advocate, and to study civil rights, law, and health). They are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that appears to be mainly privately funded. They also have a 501(c)(4) action fund that provides legislative advocacy and campaigns to advance the causes of LGBTQIA+ citizens. Their action fund is responsible for hosting the College Summits. Freedom Oklahoma is an important organization for the LGBTQIA+ community in Oklahoma, and they are standing up against legislation that would seek to take away their basic rights. For that reason, their work is invaluable to the community.

The Violet Valley Bookstore (Water Valley, MS) https://violetvalleybookstore.wordpress.com

After living in Mississippi for four years, I can say from personal experience that the amount of organizations willing to work with LGBTQ+ students and community members is slim to none. While the University of Mississippi has many incredible student-lead organizations, there is a serious lack of organizations run by community members to promote equality. It was not until my senior year of college that the Violet Valley Bookstore came on the scene and reshaped the way Mississippi conceptualized spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals.

The Violet Valley Bookstore located in Water Valley, Mississippi, is the only LGBTQ+ bookstore in the state of Mississippi. Created and run by Dr. Jaime Harker, the director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies and English professor at the University of Mississippi, the Violet Valley Bookstore is a donation-based store that aims to give queer students and community members a location to find resources as well as a safe space. After working there for a semester as an intern my senior year of college, I can personally advocate for all the good that it is doing within the Oxford and Water Valley communities, as it empowers readers from all different ages to find acceptance, tolerance, and education within its store walls.

            The website explaining their mission statement is a little dry and could definitely use more work to make it seem more inviting and professional. Personal anecdotes from happy customers, features of the leather-bound books that we have in our glass container under the register, and blog posts about books that have become popular within the store are some ways that the website could update itself. There are also two different websites, the WordPress one and another that is simply violetvalley.org, which I feel could be a bit confusing for users. Perhaps picking one website platform and sticking with it would allow for a more user-friendly experience.

            According to the VioletValley.org website, there is a tab called “Press” which shows articles that the Bookstore has been featured in, which ranges from Publishers Weekly, to NBC, to Bitch Media. All of the coverage on the Bookstore has been extremely positive with many people applauding Dr. Harker for opening this store despite the numerous amounts of backlash she would face seeing as though Mississippi (and Water Valley in particular) is still extremely conservative. In my experience working there, we only had some grumbling against Water Valley residents who were displeased about the “lesbian bookstore” as they called it.

 

Mission Statement:

According to their website, “Violet Valley Bookstore makes feminist, queer, and multicultural books available to the Water Valley community, the state of Mississippi, and the South. The bookstore provides a series of readings and other programs to support diverse voices in Mississippi. It features new and used books so that everyone, no matter their income bracket, can afford to have books.”

 

Funding:

The bookstore is donation-based with the exception of those who want to order something online specifically and have it shipped to the store. When the Bookstore was first starting to be conceptualized, shipments of huge boxes of books came from all over the US by friends of Dr. Harker to help provide inventory for the store. Monetary donations can be made, as well as book donations.

            One of the negative aspects about the Bookstore is that since it’s donation-based, there is not really any money to pay employees, so all of the work is volunteer-based. It is also only open Fridays-Sundays mainly due to the fact that those are the only times that the Bookstore can get people to volunteer. There is also the issue of location as well. Water Valley is about 30 minutes outside of Oxford, which is where the university is and the majority of people are. Water Valley is a tiny little town that does not bring in the amount of tourism that Oxford does, so many times the store would be quite empty due to it being so far from the university.

            Despite those few negative aspects, the Violet Valley Bookstore has worked to make itself part of the LGBTQ+ community and become safe space for community members whether that be from Oxford or Water Valley. It left a huge impact on me when I worked there due to the interactive aspect that I had with customers. Many were individuals wanting to come out to their friends and family and wanted resources on how to do so and be part of the LGBTQ+ community, so being part of an organization that works to help people in those ways is rewarding and fulfilling. It is incredible to see the resilience the Bookstore has from the people who want to see it be shut down, and the resources that it provides for people within the community makes me hope that it will stay for a very long time.

 

Planned Parenthood Memphis Health Center: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center/tennessee/memphis/38112/memphis-health-center-midtown-3348-91550

            Planned Parenthood overall does incredible work for people from all different races, ethnicities, and genders. Specifically, the Planned Parenthood in Memphis will be discussed in this post due to its outreach into the community and surrounding states. Their website provides accessible and easy-to-use scheduling widgets that allow for individuals to quickly maneuver around the site in order to get to specific subsections, whether it be about education or volunteering within the local community. According to the national website, Planned Parenthood has just recently celebrated over 100 years of providing affordable health care within communities all across the United States, and they even provide global care as well.

According to the nation website, this is their mission:

The Mission of Planned Parenthood is:

  • to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual;
  • to advocate public policies which guarantee these rights and ensure access to such services;
  • to provide educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality;
  • to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bioethical, behavioral, and social implications.

Funding:

Funding comes from a wide array of areas for Planned Parenthood; not only from government reimbursements and grants, but it also heavily relies on donations from those within its communities to donate for its cause. For services such as abortion, private funding is the only funding that they take, which many people get misconstrued. The funds that are received make it to where individuals can get the care that they need with little to no cost on their part. Planned Parenthood does not turn anyone away from care just because of their economic status.

Education:

For the Memphis location of Planned Parenthood, their education reach spreads to Mississippi, where they have been trying to gain traction over the last couple of years. Mississippi does not have a Planned Parenthood within its state; there is only the “Pink House” that provides abortions within the state of Mississippi. Two years ago, Planned Parenthood came to the University of Mississippi to initiate their “Sexperts” program, which is a six-hour long course designed to teach college students about sexual education and wellness. At the end of the six hours, students are then certified to peer educate about sex ed. Going through the program myself, I found it to be extremely beneficial due to the range of topics that were covered. It did not spend its entire time on heterosexual sexuality, but encompassed that of other sexual orientations as well. It also broke down stigmas surrounding sexual health, why it is important, and how students can be advocates for it.

The Memphis website also has an entire “Learn” tab dedicated to educating members within the community about topics reproductive health, STIs, and even supporting your children/friends in their journey to coming out. The information provided gives community members support and educational backing so that they may be more confident in their abilities to be a supportive ally or become more well-versed in topics of their choosing.

Volunteering:

Their volunteering opportunities are widespread; ranging from condom-packing parties to get methods of contraception out in the community to phone-a-thons in order to help raise money for local Planned Parenthoods. You can also sign up online to be registered in their system to receive text messages and emails about signing petitions to certain legislations banning abortions or affordable health care.

There are even opportunities to work as an escort for those who are seeking treatment from the clinic that do not feel comfortable walking in by themselves, making it so that care is available to all. Many times hecklers will line the streets surrounding the Clinic and some will even block pathways to get into the parking lot of the clinic, so these people aid to protect the identity of those going to get care and act as a support system with all of the shouting going on by those protesting Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood has worked as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community by providing services to all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, etc. The no-judgement facility makes the prospect of going to health care providers much less stress-inducing because for many transgender and non-binary individuals, the threat of using dead names, misgendering, and stigma can dissuade people from getting the healthcare that they need and deserve. Although the protesters outside of the buildings can be dauting and it may be difficult to wade through them, the care that awaits inside their doors is well worth it.

The Safe Zone Project: http://thesafezoneproject.com

“The Safe Zone Project (SZP) is a free online resource providing curricula, activities, and other resources for educators facilitating Safe Zone trainings (sexuality, gender, and LGBTQ+ education sessions), and learners who are hoping to explore these concepts on their own. Co-created by Meg Bolger and Sam Killermann in 2013, the SZP has become the go-to resource for anyone looking to add some Safe Zone to their life.”

 

What is Safe Zone training?

“Safe Zone trainings provide opportunities to learn about LGBTQ+ identities, gender and sexuality, and examine prejudice, assumptions, and privilege.” Safe Zone training may look different depending on the people being trained. Some may be an extensive one day training while others may just be a brief vocabulary lesson.

 

A successful Safe Zone should provide “a safe space free if judgements where people can honestly communicate with each other, educate one another, and ask any and all questions.” It should also:

  • Set and clarify a common vocabulary on LGBTQ+ issues
  • Provide activities and lectures that serve as a space for critical discussion and examination of privilege, bias, and identity
  • Give space for participants to ask and discuss any questions they have
  • Empower participants to feel personally involved and invested in issues of gender and sexuality

 

Resources:

All Safe Zone materials are freely accessible and uncopyrighted to allow for ease of access to those who will benefit from the program. This means that the material can be used however, with whomever, and whenever it is wanted/ needed. They can be adapted and changed freely to increase effectiveness. The project has stickers available to those who have completed the training which they can use for a variety of reasons. Among these reasons may be to indicate that the person who has displayed the sticker is open to talking about and being supportive of LGBTQ+ individuals.

 

Donations are greatly appreciated and go directly towards improving the quality and increasing the availability of materials. As it is a part of a US-based LLC, the hues global justice collective, Safe Zone Project is not a 501(c)(3) non-profit and thus its donations are not tax deductible.

 

On University of Arkansas campus:

multicultural.uark.edu/diversity-and-inclusion-/programs/safe-zone.php

On our campus there is a version of the project which is normally hosted by PRIDE, it involves a two-hour (typically) training session during which participants play out several scenarios, rank different freedoms, and check their privilege through a series of activities. At the end participants receive a pin or badge which they can display to show other people in the campus community that there is a safe space available for them. These badges have the following logo: 

The Safe Zone Allies page describes the program as:

“Safe Zone Allies are members of the University of Arkansas who believe that all students and people in the campus community should be treated equally and fairly regardless of sexual orientation and and gender identity.

Allies are supportive and affirming of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students and employees and their identities. Allies listen without judgment, provide safe spaces for visitors to share their concerns, and refer visitors appropriately to resources for assistance.”

The training is open to students and employees alike, staff members are also given stickers which they can display on their office doors.

 

Mazzoni Center: mazzonicenter.org 

The Mazzoni Center’s mission is:

“To provide quality comprehensive health and wellness services in an LGBTQ-focused environment, while preserving the dignity and improving the quality of life of the individuals we serve.”

It was founded in 1979 in Philadelphia, PA as an alternative health care provider for LGBT communities. In 1981 the Mazzoni Center responded to the AIDS crisis by providing HIV care and prevention services and has since contributed to the creation and implementation of programs and services to combat HIV/AIDS. In 1985 it was Pennsylvania’s first HIV testing site, a year later it provided the first sponsored housing for HIV infected individuals, and in 1989 it opened the region’s first food bank to primarily benefit HIV patients.

Today it offers a continuum of services for more than 35,000 individuals in Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ communities including:

  • Primary medical care
  • Mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment services
  • Legal services
  • HIV prevention & care
  • Youth support in schools
  • Professional development
  • LGBTQ competency training

 

Although the Mazzoni Center is a health center, their website also serves as a support forum with many articles aimed at assisting the queer community in many aspects of daily life. Their blog has entries about everything from art contests and kids’ camps to conferences and holiday survival guides.

 

Health Center:

The health center branch has a team of six medical doctors, four nurse practitioners, one nurse, and two mental health professionals as well as a slew of other administrative assistants who serve the community. Mazzoni Health Center accepts most insurance agencies and offers low cost co-pays to uninsured patients on a sliding scale based on annual income.

 

Counseling and Recovery Services:

Mazzoni Center is a licensed outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment provider, offering quality professional, accessible and culturally-affirming psychotherapy and psychiatric services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals, couples and families who are seeking to enjoy healthy and more fulfilling lives.

The counseling and behavioral health staff is made up of twenty-two licensed therapists and specialists who provide services to individuals, couples, and families seeking out therapy.

 

Education:

The education department is dedicated to spreading the mission of Mazzoni Center and through its programs, has a vision to inspire acceptance, inclusion, affirmation and integration of LGBTQ people in all spaces.

Some of the education services provided are:

  • Professional development and training
  • Youth programming and education
    • Youth drop-in clinic
    • Pediatric and adolescent comprehensive transgender services (PACTS)

 

HIV Prevention and Care:

Mazzoni Clinic provides screening and prevention by way of access to and education about PrEP and PEP, community outreach and education, and HIV care. They also offer mental health counseling and support groups, case management services, and a food bank.

Legal Services:

In 2010 Mazzoni Center added legal services to its list of services available to LGBTQ communities. It is the only program in Pennsylvania that specifically provides direct no-cost or low-cost legal assistance to low-income and lower-income, underserved LGBTQ populations. They provide advice and representation in cases of discrimination and help to educate about laws prohibitiing discrimination against LGBTQ  individuals.

 

Agudah–https://www.lgbt.org.il/english

“The Aguda. The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel: A leading organization advocating for equal rights for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in Israel,” the opening website reads.

The Agudah is the Israeli National LGBTQ+ task force, and acts as an umbrella organization to oversee several programs in the small Middle Eastern country, ranging from ones specifically for Israeli youth, to another dedicated specifically for neighboring Palestinians who face near certain death or torture if their government finds out their queer identity. Agudah’s many branches and sub-organizations allow for them to reach not only the LGBTQ+ population in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, but also the broader 8 million people who live in Israel, in an effort to provide a more tolerant LGBTQ+ culture. While most countries’ queer organizations operate in one, maybe two languages, the Agudah offers unique services in more than Israel’s two national languages (Hebrew and Arabic), and officially offers services in Russian and English as well. In a small country founded by and for refugees, there is an explicit effort to reduce barriers for immigrants and non-native Hebrew speakers, playing an imperative role in providing care and services.

While many organizations focus on social change alone, Agudah also emphasizes economic change, by ensuring that queer-friendly businesses are supported. This concept is actualized as a Pride-Tag, and the Agudah website keeps an updated, interactive map to show which businesses have been both self- and consumer-identified as queer-friendly. This becomes especially important during the summer, when Tel Aviv (also known as the gay capital of the Middle East) hosts one of the largest Pride festivals in the world each year, generating millions in tourism revenue. In fact, in 2016, Tel Aviv became the first Pride parade to have a Bisexual theme, acknowledging and validating the isolation from both straight and queer spaces that bisexual folks have felt. Agudah worked closely with Pride to pass this, and continues to work to actively create inclusive spaces throughout the country. Indeed, Agudah ensures social change through intentional, dynamic political efforts.

Not all of Agudah’s resources are strictly aimed at creating change—some are aimed at offering support and comfort. One of Agudah’s most socially friendly tools is their hotline, which operates on Whatsapp (the most popular form of text/call communication in most non-American countries, including Israel). The hotline offers itself as a resource for LBGTQ+ folks, as well as their friends and family. It seeks to provide both comfort and education, as well as act as an intermediary between those who reach out and valuable resources. The hotline does not operate Friday night through Saturday night, which is the Jewish sabbath. In the world’s only Jewish, yet seemingly Western and progressive country, the influence of religion can be difficult for some folks. However, many religious countries don’t offer services like this at any time during the week, so the potential roadblock of a 24 hour break from the service should be examined in a larger context.

The Agudah offers support via legal assistance as well, not only to protect folks who may experience illegal discrimination due to their queer identity, but their legal branch also is involved in more hands-on activism, taking a proactive, rather than a reactive, approach to LGBTQ+ advocacy. In doing so, they are implicitly reminding folks that queer rights not only need to be protected, but ought to be celebrated as well. Perhaps a great example of their celebration of queerness is through public lectures and education events throughout the country, as well as private classes and support groups in 8 cities across the country, in a variety of languages.

Nir Katz is Agudah’s center for reporting violence against LGBTQ+ folks. Once a year, they publish a public report that appears to be widely distributed in the country. A benefit of this resource is that folks can report anonymously, and in merely reporting, are able to speak to an Agudah member who can connect them to resources. It’s no surprise that if someone is reporting a homophobic or transphobic crime, they will likely need some emotional support, which is where the Agudah’s LGBTQ+ psychological comes in. They have 3 locations across Israel that offer low-cost and queer friendly, professional psychological services. Additionally, Agudah offers emergency care (including financial, psychological, physical, etc.) for refugees seeking asylum in Israel.

Overall, Agudah is a government supported, grassroots organization that seeks to benefit the lives of queer Israelis and Palestinians, as well educating those around them to help enable a more queer-friendly culture. With clear goals of political, social, and economic change, it appears as if this organization has been, and will continue to be a positive agent of change in the region.

GLSEN:https://www.glsen.org

GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, is a Massachusetts-based group of teachers that is dedicated to improving the education of LGBTQ students that are oppressed within the system. For the past twenty-five years, GLSEN has ensured that LGBTQ students have a safe environment to pursue their studies and after-school activities. They believe that personal growth and academic advancement in queer youth can be achieved through an environment that promotes positive reinforcement and validation.

GLSEN conducts research with queer youth, delivers resources for educators in the community, partners with national education organizations, and encourages students to lead local communities. The Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which are policies that protect queer youth, are heavily supported by GLSEN. They assist the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services by providing information on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Similar information can also be found in their resources on anti-bullying policies, which are provided through the GLSEN website, allowing other districts and schools to improve their efforts to aid local queer youth.

This organization puts their money into researching and strategizing ways to assist queer students, building the infrastructure of their policies, physically creating safe and inclusive environments within an academic setting, and forming a strong media presence that will allow their organization to reach other institutions. All of this is done to transform other institutions into environments that are accessible to LGBTQ people.

About eight out of ten LGBTQ students are harassed in academic settings by classmates due to their gender identity and sexual orientation. LGBTQ youth are in need of spaces created for them. By providing a safe space for LGBTQ students in an academic setting, queer students able to worry less about their environment and focus on learning and growth. Quality education is a fundamental right for any student, regardless of identity.

 

Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

The Trevor Project is an organization that provides several services for LGBTQ individuals under the age of twenty-five. The organization was founded in response to Trevor, a critically acclaimed short film directed by Peggy Rajski where a young homosexual boy navigates his relationships with his family within heteronormative culture. The goal of The Trevor Project is to drastically reduce the rates of suicide among queer individuals, which they manage to do this through four key strategies: assisting during a crisis, providing resources, educating people, and advocating for the rights of LGBTQ people.

The Trevor Project is dedicated to providing as much information as possible to LGBTQ youth and allies. Strategies are put in place to ensure that everyone’s needs are being met. During a crisis, The Trevor Project will deliver counseling to suicidal LGBTQ youth. Their crisis programs are extremely effective, as their top priority is keeping LGBTQ individuals safe. Members of The Trevor Project and volunteers for the organization staff the crisis services , allowing at-risk individuals to contact them when needed. While their methods are functional, they are still constantly looking for ways to improve their program to suit the needs of all individuals in a crisis.

At any given time, they will provide resources for youth seeking help and safety. Those who choose to contact The Trevor Project aren’t always at-risk individuals. The organization strives to assists any LGBTQ person who needs help whether they’re experiencing a crisis or not. Resources such as TrevorSpace.org were created specifically to help LGBTQ individuals find a community and involve themselves with others in similar situations.

When they’re not directly engaging with individuals that seek help from The Trevor Project, they put their time and energy into educating the general public. They teach people on LGBTQ suicide prevention, risk detection, and response. By expanding education programs for adults in a cost-effective manner, their suicide prevention resources can be utilized by a wider range of people.

The Trevor Project will also advocate for policies that reduce the rates of suicide within groups of LGBTQ youth. They push the idea of having a certain school policies placed in multiple academic institutions to provide a common and familiar place to obtain help. The Trevor Project receives countless donations every year which are used to fund their research and suicide-prevention. They partner with other federal agencies, such as GLSEN, to further their mission and reach more LGBTQ youth in need.

 

PROMO: https://promoonline.org 

PROMO is a statewide organization in Missouri “advocating for LGBTQ equality through legislative action, electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and community education.” PROMO’s vision is to create “a Missouri where everyone has full equality in the hearts and minds of citizens, in all areas of the law, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.” The earliest version of the organization began to develop in 1986 when, after some losses in the court, citizens began organizing against Missouri’s Sexual Misconduct Law. There are not very many LGBTQ organizations in Missouri which is likely due to the largely rural population. Most of the LGBTQ organizations exist in the larger cities in Missouri like Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield. PROMO Fund promotes equality and protects the human and civil rights of LGBTQ people in Missouri.

PROMO focuses on issues related to allies, anti-LGBTQ bills, conversion therapy, hate crimes and violence, intersectionality, discrimination, older adults and aging, families, health, marriage equality, Pride Month, rights and protections, safety in schools, suicide and crisis support, transgender and gender nonconforming Missourians, and workplace diversity and inclusion.PROMO’s websitehas 2-10 articles for each of these topics for people to inform themselves on issues, rights, strategies, resources, etc. For example, there are yearly legislative summaries and updates as well as details about specific issues such as conversion therapy. The website also contains many recent and relevant newsupdates pertaining to the organization and Missouri legislation. Similarly, they have a blogwith recent posts written in a more personal, op-ed style. The page also offers a community services directoryincluding local, regional and national organizations which are organized by topic and/or type of service. They also offer a page for patrons to report discriminationand hate crimes they have experienced with advice on how to file a civil rights claim as well.

Visitors to the website can easily get involved with the organization through their pages about donations, volunteering opportunities, and upcoming events. Volunteering opportunities include making phone calls, data entry, providing meals to fellow volunteers, coaching volunteer callers, working events, fundraising, training volunteers and other tasks. Internships are also available.

PROMO has a highly effective online presence including a Facebook page with frequent useful, informative, and varied posts and over 22,000 likes from Facebook users. Based on 228 Facebook reviews of PROMO, the organization has received a 4.8/5-star rating. They post events, fundraisers, news updates, shoutouts and more on their Facebook page as well. Events include things like trainings, volunteering nights, and leadership training.

PROMO has multiple community projects which they use to satisfy their organizational mission. They hold an annual fundraiser gala called Urbanairewhich brings together “LGBTQ individuals, supporters, community leaders, politicians, and equality enthusiasts from all backgrounds to mingle…and celebrate the most recent advancements in equality.” They also have the Transforming Missouri projectwhich is aimed at advocating for transgender people and educating those who are uninformed and unsupportive of transgender equality. This project is centered around data which proves that many Missourians are unsupportive of transgender rights and seem to be largely unknowledgeable on the topic.

A division of PROMO called SAGE(Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) of PROMO Fund works to improve the quality of life of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elderly people through service, advocacy, and community awareness. This part of PROMO aims “to end the invisibility of aging members of the LGBT community.” This is a particularly important goal for PROMO because they say there are currently an estimated 2.7 million elderly LGBT people in the U.S. PROMO states and that this population is predicted to increase by over 100% in the next two decades. Unfortunately, LGBT elderly people often have poorer health and less social support than straight, cis-gender elderly people.

PROMO does not appear to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as they do not address their funding anywhere online. They do not offer information about their leadership either which makes it difficult to investigate their true diversity and inclusion within the organization itself.

To contact PROMO, reach out via email at PROMO@promoonline.org or by calling 314-862-4900.

 

Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (KCAVP): http://www.kcavp.org 

Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (KCAVP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation based in Kansas City, Missouri aimed at providing domestic violence, sexual assault, and hate crimes advocacy and education to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community in both Kansas and Missouri. KCAVP claims to be the only provider of LGBTQ-specific domestic violence or sexual assault services in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, or Iowa. They offer a wide range of services: case management and advocacy, counseling and therapy, emergency assistance and housing, crisis intervention, referrals, training, outreach, prevention programs, incident documentation, and court, hospital, and police advocacy. KCAVP’s core values are liberation, individual agency, resilience, and community.

The KCAVP’s websiteincludes useful tips for recognizing behaviors which align with domestic violence, relationship abuse, types of abuse, hate crimes, and sexual violence. Each of these pages has links to resources tailored to each concern. The website also provides contact information and an online form specifically for reporting crimes. The website acknowledges that a lot of queer people do not always feel comfortable reporting crimes to authorities. This option allows people to establish documentation of an incident in a safe space. These reports also contribute to the organization’s estimates of crimes against LGBTQ people. Unfortunately, the website is not up to date as indicated by the most recent event post which has a save-the-date announcement for a fundraising event in 2016.

On the other hand, the organization has a very active, informational Facebook pagewhich has posts explaining and notifying followers about recent technical difficulties with KCAVP’s website. KCAVP’s Facebook page is a resource in itself. One of the most useful features of their Facebook page is a list of event pages for many past and upcoming events hosted by or involving KCAVP. These events tell viewers what types of things the KCAVP is most interested in. These events include things like self-care workshops, sexual positivity workshops, volunteer training sessions, lectures, meet-and-greets, fundraisers, professionalism workshops, etc. The KCAVP Facebook page also contains many posts about national and local news for LGBTQ people, promotions of events by other groups, selfcare techniques, sexual positivity, and LGBTQ+ holidays, such as Day of Trans Remembrance. The organization has a 4.9/5 rating on Facebook according to 18 detailed individualreviews. The organization also has an active Twitter account @KCAVPwhich posts about a range of news related to LGBTQ issues as well as issues related to other marginalized groups, violence, hate crimes, and legislation affecting women and minorities.

According to the KCAVP Facebook page, the executive director of KCAVP, Melissa Brown “identifies as a Black & native, multi-racial, queer stem woman” who is a survivor and has been a young mother. No other information is provided on others involved in the organization. The organization appears to be inclusive in their selection of guest speakers and trainers for community events and outreach. Based on group photos of the organization, the leaders seem to be fairly racially diverse.

KCAVP also provides a 24-hour crisis hotline which is basically a switchboard to direct callers to any number of useful hotlines for assistance with specific issues. KCAVP takes donations for operation of their 24-hour emergency hotline as well as emergency transportation, clothing and personal items, and emergency housing for clients.

To contact KCAVP, call 816-561-0550 or email info@kcavp.org. They take walk-ins from 10am-5pm Monday-Friday attheir location at 4050 Pennsylvania Ave, Ste 135 Kansas City, MO 64111.

 

ANTI-LGBTQ groups

 

Alliance Defending Freedom: https://adflegal.org

The Alliance Defending Freedom is a conservative nonprofit organization from Scottsdale, Arizona that advocates for religious freedom of Christians. It is viewed as the most significant Christian organization in the United States, along with being an infamous anti-LGBTQ society. While their stated goal is to protect religious freedom of Christians, they do so by recriminalizing homosexuality and endangering the LGBTQ community in the United States.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is defined as a designated hate group by the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) and classified by some as an extremist group. On their about page, there are several links leading to anti-LGBTQ articles involving their organization. The Alliance Defending Freedom refers to the Equality Act as “badly misnamed”, stating that many may not realize that “this legislation specifically targets [their] constitutional right to religious freedom.” They treat the idea of respecting certain identities and sexualities as offensive towards their religious beliefs, seeing themselves as victims rather than oppressors. The irony of naming an oppressive hate organization “Alliance Defending Freedom” is completely lost on their group.

They go to great lengths to establish that members of the LGBTQ community are abnormal people that want to destroy Christianity (and, by extension, society). In their efforts to protect their religious beliefs, they have supported the recriminalization of homosexuality, argued that homosexuality and pedophilia were inherently connected, defended the sterilization of a transgender people, and claims that the normalization of homosexuality will oppress their religious freedom. They find the inability to deny an LGBTQ person service in any establishment or organization is revoking their religious liberty. While their mission primarily involves an attack on the LGBTQ community, they also have conflicts with reproductive health organizations and those who believe that church and state should be separated. This last issue connects back to when they were originally named the Alliance Defense Fund and provided funding for cases that fought for their religious freedom in court.

The Alliance Defending Freedom Academy provides training programs for young Christians to assist them in become better advocates for the protection of religious freedom. Their students are typically future lawyers that can also apply for scholarships and fellowships that reward Christians students for supporting this cause.

Their animosity towards LGBTQ people has caused many people, especially those the in the south, to adopt negative views towards the community. The enforcement of the idea that queer communities are seeking to destroy familial structures and religious cultures reverses so much of the work that has been done to normalize the LGBTQ community in the United States. It is rather difficult to change someone’s mind after they have heard certain claims about the community, despite having information that would disprove those claims. The Alliance Defending Freedom is therefore considered to be a huge threat to the community and detrimental to the health of LGBTQ individuals.

 

Westboro Baptist Church: https://www.godhatesfags.com

The Westboro Baptist Church defines themselves as an “Old School Baptist Church” that adheres to the teachings of the Bible, rejecting anything and everything that is considered to be sinful. They are famous for being explicit and aggressive in their methods of educating the public, using the phrase “God hates fags” as their slogan and URL.

Like the Alliance Defending Freedom, they are considered to be an SPLC designated hate group. However, the main difference between the Alliance Defending Freedom the Westboro Baptist Church is the way the latter organization spreads their message of hate. They are significantly more vulgar and obnoxious than the Alliance Defending Freedom. They have no shame in being aggressively offensive in order to promote the word of God. They have compared people who engage in sodomy to dogs eating their own vomit, stated that Jewish people killed Jesus, and defined homosexuals as “the only true Nazis in this world.” In their Frequently Asked Questions, they specify that they use derogatory terms when describing LGBTQ people to prevent homosexuality from being normalized, hence their repeated use of the word “fag”.

The Westboro Baptist Church unapologetically justifies their heteronormative, misogynistic, and violently homophobic values by claiming that this is all done to glorify God. They utilize controversial methods of protest in order to gain more attention from Christian families. At protests and rallies, members of the Westboro Baptist Church will bring signs that display provocative phrases that bluntly state their beliefs. The same signs are used over and over again to attack certain businesses and individuals as well. Due to their hostility and extremist views, they aren’t considered to be a legitimate church by some other religious organizations.

 

Chick-Fil-A: https://www.chick-fil-a.com/About/Who-We-Are

            Chick-Fil-A’s corporate purpose is: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” The fast food company is known widely to the public as a Christian organization, evidenced by their closure on Sunday’s. Their main website specifically addresses why, saying, “Our founder, Truett Cathy, made the decision to close on Sundays in 1946 when he opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia. Having worked seven days a week in restaurants open 24 hours, Truett saw the importance of closing on Sundays so that he and his employees could set aside one day to rest and worship if they choose – a practice we uphold today.” Perhaps interesting is that Christianity is the only religion that worships on Sundays—faiths like Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and countless other non-Christian faiths do have primary worship services on Sunday. In the statement mentioning the ability to “worship if they choose,” they are attempting to couch what many see quite clearly: Chick-Fil-A only makes accommodations for folks to practice Christianity.

            Unsurprisingly, Chick-Fil-A has earned a reputation as not only a Christian organization, but also an anti-LGBTQ+ organization. Vox news reports, “The Chick-fil-A Foundation donated more than $1.8 million to three groups with a history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination in 2017, according to recently released tax filings analyzed by ThinkProgress. That year, Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm gave $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a religious organization that requires its employees to refrain from ‘homosexual acts’; $150,000 to the Salvation Army, which has been accused of anti-LGBTQ discrimination and advocacy for years and whose media relations director once claimed gay people “deserve death”; and $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Christian residential home that teaches young boys that same-sex marriage is a ‘rage against Jesus Christ and His values’,”. It’s important to note that this is merely the company’s public funding, not the top executive’s private donations. Thus, it becomes clear that Chick-Fil-A is not only a pro-Christian organization, but rather an anti-queer organization. Not all religiously based organizations are anti-queer, but Chick-Fil-A is.

            There have long been documented cases of queer folks being refused service at Chick-Fil-A stores after displaying queer PDA. In fact, in my own personal experience, I went into a store and wanted to see what would happen if I kissed someone of the same gender. We were immediately asked to leave, and our order was canceled. A quick Google search in news articles of gay/queer discrimination at Chick-Fil-A will yield similar results, although Chick-Fil-A has often been quick to say that they do not openly discriminate, but rather, promote family values. Most recently, Texas lawmakers successfully passed a “religious freedom bill” which was dubbed the “Save Chick-Fil-A” bill, as it was in direct response to a Chick-Fil-A trying to legalize open discrimination against same-sex couples. The proponents of the bill cited harm to children as a result of seeing same-sex couples—an age-old, unscientifically verified trope. Not only is Chick-Fil-A not inclusive of queer folks, but they actively seek to push legislation that enables legal discrimination and marginalization of queer folks.

            Americans tend to try and gloss over rumors, especially if there is money involved to create good PR. Perhaps more so if there is a beloved fast food involved. Despite this, Chick-Fil-A’s open discrimination has resulted in their inability to have stores in 2 airports—one in Niagara, and the other in San Antonio, Texas. One cannot downplay the importance of this, especially in a state like Texas that is a conservative stronghold in American politics. In response, Chick-Fil-A issued a statement, saying, “Recent coverage about Chick-fil-A continues to drive an inaccurate narrative about our brand. We do not have a political or social agenda or discriminate against any group. More than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand. We embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.” This seems pretty contrasting to their mission statement, which promotes upholding God, and being closed on Sunday to allow people to strengthen their faith. Indeed, their response reads to many as a thinly veiled attempt at covering the company’s open history of discrimination.

            To many, Chick-Fil-A has nothing to do with queerness, and in fact, is simply a fast food company. Queer and straight folks alike eat at the fast food chain, although there is an increasing effort in both queer and ally spaces to find other places to eat, in an attempt to boycott. In fact, over 20 university student governments have voted in campus resolutions in an attempt to remove the brand from their universities, including Texas Christian University. If Chick-Fil-A is such a strong pro-Christian organization, why did TCU vote unanimously to remove them from their campus? Regardless of how one views the company, they can clearly be distinguished as an anti-LGBTQ+ organization based on their donation history, practice of removing queer folks from their spaces, and political advocacy for the legality of open discrimination of queer folks.

Links for reference:

Texas bill: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/texas-save-chick-fil-bill-part-nationwide-anti-lgbtq-effort-n1006526

Anti-LGBTQ+ Funding :https://www.thebalancesmb.com/food-beverage-mission-statements-4068551

Chick-Fil-A Website: https://www.chick-fil-a.com/About/Who-We-Are

Airports and response statement: https://www.eater.com/2019/4/2/18292030/chick-fil-a-buffalo-airport-anti-lgbtq

TCU Student Government ban: https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/2019/may/texas-christian-college-students-vote-to-ban-chick-fil-a-from-their-campus-over-lgbt-issues

Family Research Council: https://www.afa.net/

Just as there are groups and causes which support the LGBTQ community, so are there groups in opposition to them. The Family Research Council (FRC), located in Washington, D.C., is a group identified to be anti-LGBTQ. Beginning in 1983, the group was religiously-centered and focused on family dynamics. It was formed as a subdivision of Focus on the Family. Their first goal was to find “equally capable men and women of faith” to fight against what they considered attacks on life and family. Under leader Gary Bauer, the group experienced immense growth during the Clinton Administration and eventually split from Focus on Family in 1988 to allow it to retain its tax-exempt status.

Using the “pro-family” persona, the FRC continued in working against abortion, pornography, and the LGBTQ community, all while using the Judeo-Christian ethic as its basis. Kenneth Connors, the president from 2000-2003, focused on maintaining traditional marriage and tax relief for families. The promotion of pseudoscience became an essential tactic. Utilizing anti-gay researchers such as Robert Knight, the FRC introduced material falsely connecting homosexuality with shorter than average life spans and highly influenced by pedophilia. Further misleading research included ex-gay therapy work, claiming that sexual orientation can change, and homosexuality is a mental illness.

 

The American Family Association: https://www.splcenter.org/

In 1977, The American Family Association (AFA) in Tupelo, Mississippi, was founded as another organization that has furthered its agenda to degrade homosexuality. The AFA also uses the controlling image of traditional family values to support their cause. Originally, the AFA’s purpose was to remove material from the media that they deemed as inappropriate, but eventually their efforts expanded to include more concerns. The AFA’s main goal is to be, what they consider, a “champion of Christian activism”.

Over the years, the AFA has made their anti-gay stance very clear. Writings in the AFA Journal disagree with the notion of marriage equality and homosexual interest in the military, while promoting the exaggeration of homosexuality and pedophilia and comparisons of homosexuality to murder, stealing, and adultery. The incorporation of dishonorable research against the gay community was also used, similar to the tactics by the FRC. Furthermore, the AFA signed off on an “Ex-Gay” campaign, led by individuals who claimed to have “come out of homosexuality”. Ironically, the spokesperson for the program, Michael Johnston, was eventually ousted for having been caught hosting orgies, doing drugs, and spreading HIV among men.

Both the FRC and the AFA are non-profit organizations. Neither are financially supported by any state or federal government. Instead, financial support comes in the form of tax-deductible donations by individuals. For the FRC, donations are advertised to promote the defense of “faith, family, and freedom” by providing funds for “key” research, the training of pastors, etc. Even the AFA promotes its “traditional family values” near its donation link.

Neither of the groups are absolutely exclusive. The Family Research Council and the American Family Association have both job openings and volunteer opportunities, so the groups are open to acceptance, although some people have communicated not only homophobic views, but views against non-Christians. The websites make it very clear that to be considered for employment, it is important that applicants agree with the stances taken by the organizations. Anyone in disagreement with the purposes of the organization will be denied entry.

 

The American College of Pediatrics: www.acpeds.org/about-us

The American College of Pediatrics is a conservative group of pediatricians. Because their names bares a very close resemblance to the American Academy of Pediatrics (the official association of pediatricians) many believe what the American College of Pediatrics says is the view of all pediatricians. The American College of Pediatrics’ states that they “recognize the basic father-mother family unit, within the context of marriage, to be the optimal setting for childhood development, but pledge our support to all children, regardless of their circumstances.” Throughout their website they stress the importance of a mother-father (female-male) dynamic in the home and claim that a child need both. They say that this is just biology.  The college claim that there are significant risks to the children related to same-sex parents. On the topic of homosexuality in schools they claim that pro-homosexuality organizations are pushing schools to address homosexuality as normal (gasp), and to make the children feel comfortable in themselves. The college says all of these things like it is a bad thing. They also promote psychotherapy for homosexuality and claim that although people may not be able to consciously choose homosexuality, they can change it. Their tag line is “Best for Children”, but I do not believe that to be true.

 

Family Research Council: www.frc.org/homosexuality

The Family Research Council believes that “homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects.” They also claim that there is no evidence that people are born gay, and demand that gay people not be seen as equal. I think this is crazy since they are calling themselves a research council which makes one think that they would believe science. They instead ignore it. They claim that gay marriage constitutes “a radical redefinition and falsification of the institution.” This means that gay marriage is then queer. The FRC claims that they must help those who struggle with homosexuality. They then have many texts to back up their claims, but they are all written by the same person. By having these beliefs this organizations are blatantly against LGBTQ individuals.