It’s been an eventful year in gay culture. From anti-gay legislation on same-sex marriage to the heartbreaking upsurge of gay-teen suicide in the media, equal rights issues for the LGBT community have come to a head. Rather than state the obvious or give you my opinion, which has already been voiced by countless others, I want to offer some ideas of selfless actions we can take to be part of the solution, no matter our circle of influence or means. EVERY action counts.
1. Don’t indulge in bitchiness or put down other gays in your community because they aren’t as cool as you or it makes you feel better. I know it feels fun and your friends are laughing at your sardonic humor, but the ramifications aren’t worth the chuckle. Remember back in the day when you weren’t cool? Let’s be nice to EACH OTHER.
2. Volunteer to help get your favorite government official elected to office. You know, the one who supports the issues that are important to the quality of your life? Yeah, that one.
3. Encourage government to take a look at the possibility that anti-gay legislation allows bigots to feel justified in their ignorant words and actions and that this damaging legislation has a direct correlation to increased bullying and teen suicide. Vote and get educated on issues and legislation that affect the LGBT community.
4. Train and volunteer to be a counselor on a suicide hotline like The Trevor Project.(www.thetrevorproject.org)
5. Take a niece or nephew who you suspect might be experiencing difficulty coping with not fitting in or getting the encouragement they need to the zoo or the movies and tell them you love them unconditionally.
6. If you are an artist, put on a show or produce a play and give the proceeds to your favorite charity like this one that I produce with some like-minded artist friends. (www.openartistswithopenarms.com)
7. Become a mentor of an LGBT youth who will benefit the positive example and support of someone like you. (www.lifeworksmentoring.org)
8. Join or start a GSA (gay/straight alliance) in your high school.
9. Volunteer at a food kitchen to help make meals for people living with AIDS like Project Angelfood in LA (www.angelfood.org).
10. Run a marathon or join an AIDS (www.aidswalk.net), breast cancer or Autism walk and raise money for the cause.
Let’s DO something!