As a relatively new member of the LGBT community and after having spent 20+ years in the military, I find that I am finally in a flex a little bit of muscle in the areas of volunteering and activism. When I served, I had to be careful what sorts of things I got involved in regardless of any “lifestyle” issues that I might have been seen as representing. I had to appear politically impartial, and any rally attendance or campaign work or any such thing had to be done with no recognition of my military status. Anything really overt had to be approved through the appropriate channels.
Now that I’m both out of the military and an out of the closet lesbian, I have the freedom to support organizations, causes and politicians as I see fit. I’m getting my feet wet where I see the need as time and money permit.
We don’t all have to be democrats or environmentalists or gay rights activists, or AIDS activists or equality advocates or espouse the virtues of vegetarianism or any other particular thing, but we should certainly all do something. Pick one thing. What is your passion? What incites strong feelings or opinions for you? There’s bound to be a politician, or community center, or a cause that could use your help.
Everyday Activism: A Handbook for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual People and their Allies, a book by Michael R. Stevenson and Jeanine C. Cogan can be of help in your efforts to get involved if your interest lies in the areas of assisting with equality type issues. Though it was published in 2003, it still holds a lot of relavance. Items concerning the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy are obviously all but outdated while others are just coming to the forefront. Yes, we’ve come a ways but, lo, we have a ways to go!
The book covers still very current topics like:
- Influencing Public Policy
- Human Rights
- Mental Health
- Combating Hate Crimes
- Ending Employment Discrimination
- Protecting Relationships and Legitimizing Families
- Making Schools Safe