It’s the season for giving.
And times being what they are, that giving must be substantial to make it through whatever’s coming over the next four years. A ton of excellent charities are poised to protect our rights and our lives throughout the darkest days of whatever nasty surprises the nasty Republican Party has up its sleeves. Let’s defy the president-elect’s ethos of crass commercialism and self-enrichment at the expense of others.
This year we’re skipping the shopping post in favor of advocating for a few of our favorite non-profits.
We’ll need them in fighting shape to fight Donald Trump, and rerouting our spending from materialism to causes is a small price to pay for preserving equality. In fact, it’s not a price at all.
1. American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union didn’t waste any time after Trump’s election. “We’ll see you in court,” the venerable organization promised, pointing out that many of his campaign proposals are blatantly unconstitutional. From walls to immigration to religious tests to waterboarding, we’ll need an army civic-minded attorneys to stand against his horrifyingly unconstitutional proposals.
2. The Sierra Club
Enjoy breathing while you can, because Trump’s sleazy polluter friends can’t wait to drill for oil and mine for coal, fouling the air while lining their pockets. The Sierra Club is doing what it can to convince the Obama administration to make ecological protections as permanent as possible, so a climate-denying White House can’t easily undo them. Don’t think global warming is an LGBTQ issue? The survival of the species is at stake.
3. Larkin Street Youth Services, San Francisco
Over 3,000 young people from 12 to 24 benefit from Larkin Street’s services, giving them a sense of self-respect, trust, and hope. The org provide education and job training to keep at-risk kids off the street, directing them into productive, self-sufficient lives. There’s no telling how badly Trump’s appointees will gut social federal services for queer youth, so we’re likely to have to step up funding of these projects ourselves so they don’t skip a beat in providing these life affirming services.
4. The True Colors Fund, national
Named for the song by the founder, Cyndi Lauper, this nonprofit addresses youth homelessness — a hugely disproportionate problem among LGBTQs because they are far more likely to be neglected or rejected by family. It works through community organizing, public engagement, public policy, research, and collaboration, and featuring with on-the-ground programs around the country.
5. It Gets Better
It all started with a simple but powerful video by Dan Savage and his partner Terry, which then went totally viral. Youth responded powerfully to the message that no matter how bad things might seem now, life improves once you get out into the world on your own and create the community of your chosing. Trump and his Steve Bannon clown posse threw that simple message of evolution and progress into serious question, especially for LGBTQ youth from immigrant, Muslim and minority communities. Six years on, the videos are more critical than ever. Deserving of our support is a new book of inspiring stories, promoting a message of hope abroad, and the leveraging of the BETTERLegal program to support nonprofits everywhere.
6. Campaign for Southern Equality
Nowhere do LGBTQs face greater challenges than throughout the southern states where prejudice runs especially deep and where the name Trump has been interpreted as license to discriminate and worse. Based in North Carolina, the Campaign for Southern Equality advocates throughout the south with the “Hometown Organizing Project” and an “LGBT Rights Toolkit.”
7. Lambda Legal
Lambda Legal is one of a small, elite group on national nonprofits that have completely transformed the legal landscape of the country, and continues to do so to this day. From employment to family protection to health care to immigration to police to seniors, its accomplishments are are immense and deserving of our continued support.
8. The Trevor Project
Youth is a recurrent theme in this list because it represents our future. This is a particularly challenging time young people — family might be gathering together to give thanks, but that same family may not be so thankful to have a gay kid in its midst, and now that prejudice is being reinforced by the people at the top. It’s a cold world for kids thrown out of the house. Last winter, Trevor Project volunteers spent over 400,000 minutes talking to youth in need of help. Let’s make sure they have even more minutes to spare for kids in need.
9. Ruth Ellis Center
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% of homeless teens in the Detroit area identify as LGBTQ, and the Ruth Ellis Center provides short-term and long-term residential safe spaces. It offers semi-independent living arrangements and transitional housing, and Wanda Sykes is one of its big boosters.
10. OutTexas Foundation
There are particularly onerous challenges to queer youth in Texas, one of the most officially antigay states in the country, and this nonprofit provides scholarship to students across the state. Donate to help grow its endowment because every year it faces new challenges connecting LGBT youth to financial resources and training opportunities to overcome the disadvantages that they face and give them hope for a better future.