Which service clubs and volunteer organizations are LGBTQ-friendly?
September 22, 2014 2:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm researching local chapters of various community service clubs and organizations and I would prefer to only join / volunteer for an organization that is officially LGBTQ-friendly, at least on the national or international level. While I can search each organization's national homepage for their written policies, I'd really appreciate the "inside scoop" from any MeFites who are current or former members of any of these types of organizations on how inclusive they actually are in practice.

Given that I'm in bumfuck rural Central Virginia (~15 miles from Jerry Falwell's Liberty University!), I do realize that many (most?) individual members may not be very LGBTQ-friendly. Outspoked bigotry is pretty common here. :(

However, as long as the umbrella organization is officially inclusive, then I think I would still feel comfortable joining and -- as necessary -- being an agitator for modernity within the local chapter.

I'm not LGBTQ myself and none of my LGBTQ loved ones live nearby so I don't expect to need to worry about personal safety or inadvertently outing anyone. I would just prefer to join a group that's at least theoretically supposed to be inclusive.

Service clubs and volunteer organizations in my area include:
* Rotary
* Kiwanis
* Lions
* Toastmasters
* Habitat for Humanity
* Exchange Club
* Red Cross
* Boys and Girls Club
* Big Brothers Big Sisters
* Girl Scouts
* 4-H
* League of Women Voters
* General Federation of Women's Clubs

Please advise, thanks!
posted by Jacqueline to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Girl Scouts is extremely progressive. Even in the incredibly conservative area of the city I live and do scouting in, I have been nothing but pleasantly surprised at the open and inclusive nature of the Girl Scouts. Transgender girls are officially welcome, though of course on a troop by troop basis you may run into complications just from leaders not being well educated on it (as with anywhere).

I specifically got back into Girl Scouting as an adult because of the org's progressive stance on LGBTQ and religious issues. (A-OK to be atheist in the Girl Scouts!)
posted by phunniemee at 2:46 PM on September 22, 2014 [7 favorites]

4H has an official policy against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And it's a fun organization!
posted by SyraCarol at 2:55 PM on September 22, 2014

The Red Cross is great. Yes they have a somewhat Christian origin and yes they do not accept blood from men who have slept with men, but they are completely without religion now and the donation ban is driven by the FDA. They are even lobbying to have it lifted.
posted by munchingzombie at 3:45 PM on September 22, 2014

4-H is government funded, so you get all the built-in protections that comes with government money being involved.
posted by COD at 4:36 PM on September 22, 2014

Girl Scouts!
posted by heathrowga at 4:59 PM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

3rd ing girl scouts! Even in Texas they were pretty great (at the council level. As phunnimee stated though, maybe not always on the troop level.)
posted by missriss89 at 5:56 PM on September 22, 2014

The League of Women Voters is big into social justice policy, if that is somewhere you'd like to focus your efforts.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:27 PM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was more or less raised by the League of Women Voters in Central Virginia -- my mom is still active. I can at least vouch for the Charlottesville branch as being LGBT-friendly.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:04 PM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

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