Best charity for LGBT rights
June 2, 2013 8:28 PM   Subscribe

What is the best charity to give to in support of LGBT rights and activism? I'm in New Mexico but am open to donating to a national organization.

My partner and I are planning on getting married within the next few years. We are in a man/woman relationship and would like to attempt to do something for the queer community as a part of our wedding, and we feel like the whole "give the gays the first dance" thing is kind of cliche. (Especially because our gay friends are a small enough group of people that it would force them all to be in the spotlight and a lot of them aren't the type who would enjoy that kind of thing.)

Because of this, we want to have a charity, or group of charities, to give to in lieu of wedding gifts. We want one that supports the LGBT community. We are not interested in donating to the HRC or any other organization that throws transgender people under the bus. Organizations that do more general activism, like the ACLU, are okay as long as they actually do something; we really don't want to throw money at one of those organizations that mostly exists to perpetuate itself. We're open to charities that help the LGBT community in other ways as well (like supporting LGBT kids).
posted by NoraReed to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'd actually like to throw a good word towards the ACLU of New Mexico (as a fellow NMer myself); they work very heavily on LGBTQ rights.
posted by pipian at 8:41 PM on June 2, 2013

You could look for local shelters for LGBTQ teens- LGBTQ teens have a high rate of homelessness, IIRC.
posted by MadamM at 8:47 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Some ideas:

-The NCLR actually works on a range of things, not just "lesbian rights," and has a better track record with trans people than the HRC.
-The Ali Forney Center helps homeless queer youth in NYC.

But the idea of going local is nice.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:49 PM on June 2, 2013

Lambda legal? I am not personally knowledgeable about them, but haven't heard anything that would make me unsupportive.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:01 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm going to add PFLAG to your list of considerations. They are a national organization and possibly offer services in your local area. I've worked with an organization that raises money for them, and they run their org really well.

Here is a bit about PFLAG:
PFLAG is a national non-profit organization with over 200,000 members and supporters and over 350 affiliates in the United States. This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced and serviced by PFLAG National, located in Washington, D.C., the national Board of Directors and 13 Regional Directors.

Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies uniting with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy. Now in its 40th anniversary year, PFLAG has over 350 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states.
posted by happysocks at 9:08 PM on June 2, 2013

Best answer: I suggest that you consider some organizations that specifically work on behalf of low-income LGBT people -- small orgs that often get overshadowed by the larger national groups, and that work on critical issues far beyond marriage:

Queers for Economic Justice: "Our goal is to challenge and change the systems that create poverty and economic injustice in our communities, and to promote an economic system that embraces sexual and gender diversity."

The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color community organizing center, focusing on the New York City area.

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence.

Southerners on New Ground: "We envision a multi-issue southern justice movement that unites us across class, age, race, ability, gender, immigration status, and sexuality; a movement in which LGBTQ people – poor and working class, immigrant, people of color, rural – take our rightful place as leaders shaping our region’s legacy and future."

Black and Pink: "We are outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing."
posted by southern_sky at 9:17 PM on June 2, 2013 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: These are great, guys, thanks-- feel free to keep 'em coming, and if anybody knows more organizations feel free to add them. (And if anyone has links to reasons we should rule any of them out, feel free to post those too!) We'll probably go with a couple of organizations and let people choose.

I marked the ones we really liked as best answers but appreciate all the suggestions-- thanks all!
posted by NoraReed at 11:31 PM on June 2, 2013

Aborginal GLBTQ folks are especially hard off, and New Mexico has a large population. One of the chief, and really complicated issues is that HIV is spiking in the communities. The National Native AIDS Provention Collation is running pilot programs among the navajo, resting on navajo needs, while also working nationally. Also, perhaps ]seriously think about donations for two spirit pow wow societies, there is one in SF and this one

In addition, though there are a huge number of nyc charities, rural, working class queers are vastly under-represented, and often have legal problems--so in addition to the aclu, think about donating to legal aid clinics in new mexico.

Lastly, seriously think about donating to radical orgs that think about disrupting marriage--like the zuni sanctuary
posted by PinkMoose at 1:17 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Educated people of all persuasions make societies stronger. If you want to help queer kids with their education, consider donating to the Point Foundation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:57 AM on June 3, 2013

Also not a HRC fan here, and I give to Lambda Legal - I feel like they are serious about getting shit done.
posted by naoko at 7:27 PM on June 3, 2013

The national LGBT groups that I personally give to, because I know them and support their work, and believe that they use my donations well, are NCLR and QEJ, both listed above. I also give to the Transgender Law Center and several local LGBT organizations. southern_sky's list is excellent -- I've given to SONG in the past and have worked with SRLP and SONG both. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is also a good choice -- they are one of the most progressive of the national groups
posted by gingerbeer at 7:49 PM on June 4, 2013

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