In spite of all the strife and political tension in our country, it’s been incredible to witness the rise in community between people protesting, standing up for others and offering their love and support. After President Trump implemented the controversial travel ban, lawyers flocked to airports, offering pro bono work for travelers, students studying in the U.S., and those just trying to get home to their families. Seeing the actions of strangers rallying together to help their fellow neighbors has been as inspiring as it was needed. In the weeks since the inauguration, the American Civil Liberties Union has received a record-high number of donations, a reminder that we share a bond and a passion for freedom that is stronger than those who try to divide us. If the donations to the ACLU and organizations like it are proof of anything, it’s that as much as we need these organizations and nonprofits to continue fighting the good fight, they need us in order to continue doing so.
Donations contribute resources for helplines to staff their phones so that when someone who’s feeling suicidal calls in, they don’t get a busy signal. Donations also help provide support for campaigns to stand up for the issues you care about. These admirable organizations give voices to the silent, the overlooked and the invisible. And when the future for so many Americans — especially in the LGBTQ community — are at risk with this new administration, there are so many people out there who are dedicated to fighting for our rights. So if you’re looking to donate, here are five organizations championing the fight for equality and providing aid and advocacy for the LGBTQ community and beyond. They need us now more than ever.
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
This organization is extremely important because it does more than just get the word out; it takes action, enacting policy change so that people don’t just have to hope for equality but have the chance to live it. At the core of their mission, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project believes that every person has a right to self-determine their identity without facing discrimination or violence. In addition to providing legal services, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to cast a light on oppression and give the oppressed the tools they need to fight for the abolition of injustice.
GLSEN — pronounced glisten — knows that change begins with our youth, which is why this organization is committed to providing a strong presence in K-12 schools. With the goal of serving as an ally in every school in every grade in every classroom, GLSEN is helping to affirm a safe space and support system for both students and teachers.
GLSEN conducts research in order to determine the best means of support for children and teens and connects students with resources and support systems — something they might not have at home. This organization helps foster a respectful community in schools by providing an outlet where students can come together to learn and grow and not feel isolated by their differences.
SAGE, or Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender Elders, is especially important because it covers a niche group that is often forgotten. In fact, a feminist scholar coined the term, the invisible population, to describe the older LGBT community, a population that increases rapidly each year. Popular culture tends to depict a younger demographic as the face of LGBTQ people. But equality is about inclusion, and no one should be left out.
The invisible population is less likely to come forward when it comes to things such as receiving healthcare and reaching out for support, which is why SAGE is an imperative organization. They partner individuals with programs and create a network of support through raising awareness and making moves to create policy that betters the quality of life for many Americans.
GLAAD is an organization that recognizes the power of information and uses it to change the narrative about the LGBTQ community. GLAAD uses the media as a platform to educate the public and tell stories that might otherwise be suppressed — stories of heroism, stories of struggle and stories of change.
Through the spread of information, GLAAD is increasing the opportunity for support from the general public. The more people that are aware of an issue, the more of a chance there is for people to support it because if it isn’t known, it can’t be changed. In 2012, GLAAD worked ruthlessly with a mom who was banned from being a Boy Scouts leader because of her sexuality. And in 2015, GLAAD was a heavy influence when the Boy Scouts overturned their ban on gay adults serving as leaders. GLAAD is a monumental tool in the LGBTQ community with an important voice that needs to continue to be heard.
Freedom For All Americans
Led by much of the same group that successfully championed marriage equality with the Freedom to Marry campaign, Freedom For All Americans is continuing to fight for LGBTQ Americans and protect them against discriminatory legislation. Last year when North Carolina bathroom laws that discriminated against transgender individuals were put into place, Freedom For All Americans launched the Transgender Freedom Project, which highlights stories of those in the transgender community to help abolish stereotypes and divisiveness in favor of equality. And when 52 percent of LGBTQ individuals live in states that don’t offer protection against discriminatory legislation when it comes to things like housing and employment, this organization is imperative in the efforts to maintaining freedom and pursuing equality.
This incredible organization does so much for not only the LGBTQ community, but also all Americans in their dedication to fight discrimination. So, between now and March 1, Love Inc. will be donating 100 percent of proceeds earned from the Love List, our equality-minded vendor guide, to Freedom for All Americans. If you’ve been thinking of joining our vendor guide, now is the perfect time to take that step. You can apply to become a member here.