Why we still give
Yes, that was none other than Maggie Gallagher herself – the take-no-prisoners founder of the National Organization for Marriage – quoted last week as admitting that her side had lost its fight to stop the scourge of marriage equality. Her troops, she wrote, “are in shock … awed by the powers now shutting down the debate and by our ineffectualness at responding to these developments.”
It can’t but be a great day when Maggie Gallagher concedes defeat. Like Anita Bryant and Phyllis Schlafly and Lou Sheldon and Frank Shubert, she’ll now fade into a footnote – if that – in the histories of the LGBT movement.
But hold that champagne …
It might be tempting to see Gallagher’s lament as another sign that the LGBT movement has, after decades of struggle, landed on a kind of glide path to equality, freedom, and justice. Can we just start taking it a little easier? Let history take its course?
Quite simply, no. We can’t hang up our marching shoes. We can’t lay back. And we can’t put away our wallets. Not while LGBT people in more than half the United States have no legal protection against basic discrimination. Not while 40% of homeless kids identify as LGBT. Not while thousands of LGBT elders have to go back in the closet to get services and transgender people can’t find housing or jobs.
Most of us know we’d be fools to wrap ourselves in a kind of smug cloak of inevitability. We know that Roe v Wade not only didn’t fully secure women’s reproductive rights, but those rights have been steadily chopped away in the 40 years since. We know that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn’t end racial discrimination. And we know that’ll be true with LGBT rights as well.
… we’ve all still got roles to play
One other thing that most of us know: equality, freedom, and dignity don’t come for free. Literally. Winning them costs money. Yes, of course, there needs to be much more than just money; we need courage and passion and good leaders and smart strategies, to name just a few.
But money’s needed for all of those. Money is like the water that simply has to flow if a farmer’s crops are going to grow.
All of us have roles to play. On May 15, every LGBT person and our allies has an exciting and novel opportunity to power our movement simply by giving. May 15 will be the second annual Give OUT Day, a single day on which thousands upon thousands of LGBT people will contribute to groups they care about. In its debut year in 2013, Give OUT Day raised more than $600,000 for nearly 400 organizations across the country. More than 600 have registered this year.
Find out all about it at www.giveoutday.org. Find a group you care about. Give to a nonprofit you’ve never heard of. Give to a queer youth organization, or an elders nonprofit or one helping victims of anti-LGBT violence or a cultural group. Or give to an organization that once helped you.
The important thing is to give. Tell your friends to give. Tell your co-workers. Spread the word. Together, we make not just a difference, but a movement.