In a country with over 318 million people, we often feel like our voice is not being heard. But that’s the thing about voices — it takes many coming together to be heard and to make a change. Following this election, many of us feel scared, worried, and even useless. What can we do now that a man who has spouted anti-LGBT rhetoric and chosen an anti-LGBT vice president will enter office in 2017?
Let us show you:
Petitions are great ways to bring together thousands of voices. Add your voice to these great petitions that will end anti-LGBTQ initiatives:
Say No to the First Amendment Defense Act: Trump has promised to pass this act which would effectively allow anyone to discriminate against members of the LGBT community under the guise of “freedom of religion.”
See You in Court Trump: This ACLU petition is telling Trump that the ACLU and others will fight against any discriminatory laws he tries to pass. Add your name to tell Trump you will fight for the LGBT community.
Tell Florida Department of Children and Families to Protect LGBT Youth: DCF has removed language in their rules to protect LGBT youth.
Donate to LGBT Organizations
At the end of each year, I take my left over Christmas money and donate it to organizations. I donate to a LGBT organization in honor of my brother and an organization that fights for disability rights in honor of my sister. I’d encourage you all to donate whatever you can this holiday season, before Trump goes into office.
There are a number of amazing groups and organizations that are fighting for LGBTQ rights on all levels, but they need funding to do that. Want to have some fun with it? There’s a movement of Americans donating to Planned Parenthood in anti-LGBT and VP elect Mike Pence’s name. With each donation, he receives a “thank you” for your donation message. So, if you’re feeling a bit catty, maybe remind Mike Pence that we will not tolerate his anti-LGBT agenda in office by donating in his name. Here’s the IG post that provides his info. Happy donating!
- The Trevor Project: “The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.”
- Los Angeles LGBT Center: “Today the Center’s nearly 600 employees provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services, and global advocacy that span four broad categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy.”
- Lambda Legal: “Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIVthrough impact litigation, education and public policy work.”
- GLAAD: “GLAAD works with print, broadcast and online news sources to bring people powerful stories from the LGBT community that build support for equality.”
- HRC: “The Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation together serve as America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ equality.”
- ACLU: “For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.”
- PFLAG: “Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy.”
- It Gets Better Project: “The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them.”
- National LGBTQ Task Force: “The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people.” (With the National LGBTQ Task Force, you can also donate to specific causes in the LGBT rights fight)
Volunteer with LGBTQ organizations
Whether you can donate to organizations this year or not, one of the best ways to make change happen is to donate your time to good causes. If you like working in media, GLAAD might be a great place to volunteer. With HRC, it’s easy to find communities and chapters across the U.S. in which you can donate your time to volunteer at events, discussions, conferences, etc. Remember how hard it was to come out? Or deal with bullying because you were LGBT? Volunteer at the Trevor Project and help LGBT youth get through those hard times and remember that they are perfect as they are and that suicide is never the answer. And if none of these interest you, remember that you can always contact your local LGBT organizations and centers and see how you can help them in making a change.
Contact your representatives
Want to do more? The best way to influence policy change is to contact those who can actually do that — your representatives.
A tweet by Emily Ellsworth just went viral on Twitter. Emily Ellsworth is a former Congressional staffer and she provided some amazing ways in which to get your representatives attention. Here’s her main advice — call your politicians at their district state office. She explains that tweets and Facebook posts are usually ineffective. Letters and emails also tend to go unnoticed too, however, when you call — the office has to pick up and listen to your thoughts and concerns and complaints, and when they get a lot of those calls, well, it definitely comes to the Congressmen and women’s attention.
Follow this link to get the contact information of your officials from local to state to federal: Click here.
Don’t be afraid to call and express your feelings, especially now. Let your representatives know how YOU want them to vote. And then get your friends and families to call them too.
However, if you can’t call for some reason or another, look for movements that let you contact your representative, such as this one:
Go to town hall meetings
Town hall meetings and community forums might sound a bit silly — but they can really make an impact on your local and state communities’ policies.
To find out when a town hall meeting is being held by Senators or House Representatives, go to their personal website and sign up for email newsletters, follow them on Twitter, or check in time to time with their events page.
Remember to be proactive at the town hall meeting or community forum by bringing a lot of friends and family members who will raise their voices with you. Come prepared with questions, statements, stories, and concerns. Raise your voice!
Take your case to court
Sometimes the only way to make change is to be brave and take your case to court. If you’ve been harassed, mistreated, harmed, or discriminated against in your state, you might have a case for change. One by one, families banded together across the U.S. and made LGBT adoption legal in all 50 states. Prior to the marriage ruling, the same was being done for same-sex marriage. Gavin Grimms is going to the Supreme Court to fight discriminatory trans bathroom bills in schools.
Lambda Legal is an organization that works toward representing the LGBT community in courts. Click here to learn about them. The ACLU is another organization that tries to help fight LGBT injustice in the courts. Click here for more information. Remember that you can consult other civil liberties lawyers in your state and fight discriminatory practices against the LGBT community.
End conversion therapy in the United States
With Mike Pence, an active supporter of conversion therapy in the U.S., we thought it best to share ways in which you can fight to end conversion therapy all across the U.S.
First, find out what laws are on the table in your state in connection with conversion therapy by clicking here.
Next, call your officials to tell them how you want them to vote on those laws. Remember, calling is the best policy, but if you cannot, at least email them, write them, tweet them, Facebook message them, whatever you can to get their attention.
You can also sign this petition by clicking here.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights has a #BornPerfect movement. If you want to get a law enacted in your state that ends conversion therapy, contact them: “If you would like to help enacting a similar law in your state, please contact #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator & Staff Attorney Samantha Ames at BornPerfect@NCLRights.org.”
You can also share their meme on Twitter or Facebook to remind the U.S. that people who are LGBT were #bornperfect.
Do something bigger
Sometimes it takes something big to get attention and make change. Come together and organize an event, a protest, a community forum, a support group — whatever it takes to make change for the LGBT community.
This can be on the local level or national level. It just takes a group of people passionate enough to work hard together and with social media, we can’t imagine you can’t find others who want to help out.
Some issues that might inspire you to come together include: conversion therapy, trans bathroom bills, LGBT foster care youth rights, LGBT-inclusive sex education in schools, HIV education, “religious freedom” bills, LGBT homelessness, LGBT representation in media, etc.
Though this is not exclusive to LGBT rights, there is an organizing Women’s March on Washington in January that is inclusive of the LGBT community and their rights, as well as those of other disenfranchised groups in America.