Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Importance of Awesome Allies (i.e., most of you reading this blog)

We need the support of straight allies (folks who identify as heterosexual but support full civil rights and equality for gay folks). You are the people we turn to for support when the world seems too cruel. You are the people we celebrate with when we are valued (for instance, thanks to all the people at work that I hugged after the Iowa Supreme Court granted marriage rights on April 3, 2009!). are absolutely vital to creating change. You are the ones who often have the greatest power to help explain why this issue is important to those who are less supportive (i.e., you are not seen as "having an agenda" when you argue for full human rights and protections). You are also the statistical majority of folks, which means that we need your support every time these issues are put to a popular or legislative vote.

For all of you who are willing to help (in addition to the great emotional support you already provide for many of us), here are some possible outlets:

1) Have discussions with friends, family, and co-workers about the issues facing the LGBT community. One of the biggest goals of this blog is to help provide information to facilitate these conversations through links to organizations, videos, etc.

2) Or...don't...and just have discussions from the heart. While I'm partial to the facts (hence the teaching gig, I suppose), what I also learned at the conference is the importance of the heart. People are more likely to listen and to ask questions when they understand that "gay people want to get married for the same reason as heterosexual people do." Likewise, people are more likely to listen and ask questions when they are given examples of how the absence of marriage can devastatingly affect things like hospital visitation in times of crisis (e.g., the video "For My Wife" and the videos at Garden State Equality- both of which are linked on my "Cool Folks to Follow" list of links to the right). So, the more stories you can share of the struggles your gay friends have experienced without full protection or rights, the better.

3) Contact your state and federal legislators when LGBT issues are coming up for a vote. In almost every state there are organizations working for marriage equality. If you join the e-mail list of these organizations (like One Iowa whose link is to the ancient home computer will not allow me to insert it here- sorry!), you automatically receive updates and even sample letters that you can send to your representatives. If you have a hard time finding an organization in your state, just leave me a comment here and I promise I will help you find the right organization.

4) Write a letter to the editor. (I'm fixin' to do another one myself in the next few weeks.) If you have moved away from your hometown, send the letter to the newspaper both in your current city and in your hometown. Don't worry about getting all of the facts straight (pardon the pun), just feel free to share your story (or journey) from the heart.

WE LOVE YOU and thank you for ALL that you do to support us personally and politically. Love, B

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