Eeeks. The holiday shopping season is upon us. Many of you probably participate in the holidays one way or another, regardless of your faith. One thing you can do this year is give the gift of Equality for LGBT people. Is it difficult to talk to your friends and family about supporting rights for gays and lesbians? Don’t we all have an Archie Bunker in our family?
It’s the season of Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward All. The perfect time to send a positive, subtle, yet clear message about your values.
How, you might ask? Here are a few ideas. If you have other ideas, please post them in the comments.
Where to Shop
Let’s start with the easiest. Do you do all your shopping on Amazon and have them wrap and send the packages? My husband does. Do your shopping through PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and 5% of your Amazon purchase will go to the organization. In fact, they do this year round, so bookmark PFLAG as your Amazon shopping link.
Making travel arrangements? Check out American Airlines Business ExtrAA Program. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, you can support PFLAG by using their Business ExtrAA account number, #527590 when you make your reservation with American Airlines. And you will still earn your personal AAdvantage frequent flyer miles! This incentive program allows PFLAG to earn points redeemable for awards to support staff travel.
Cards and Stamps
Do you still send cards or family newsletters? Turn it into your wish list for world peace. Mention your support for equality in your wish list. It doesn’t have to turn into a sermon. Something as easy as “As I watch the news and see gay couples fight for equality, I hope 2010 brings us closer to passing laws that give every human rights.” If you make your own cards, it’s a great opportunity to include a symbol or message about equality.Your cards and newsletters will need a stamp. You can start by making your own stamps. In fact, the folks at Zazzle have made it easy for you by creating many LGBT designs. Use them for your every day mail, especially for those cards and letters for your representatives.
Need gifts for family members? Let’s run through my family and see what I’m giving them.
There are many gay and lesbian artists, or artists that support equality. There is something for everyone, regardless of their taste.
Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga, Melissa Etheridge, kd Lang, Rufus Wainwright, SigurRos, Catie Curtis, and even Dolly Parton support equality.
Books and Poetry
The Matthew Shepard store is another great place to pick up items, especially the new book by Judy Shepard.
An Anthology of Poetry by LGBT Christians, available at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Grace Cathedral is famous for its commitment to working with AIDS patients from the beginning and has a lovely AIDS Chapel.
If you are looking for some special jewelry, try Love and Pride. Love and Pride donates a portion of its profits to several LGBT organizations including the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Lambda Legal and SLDN.
For those that have everything
Make a contribution to an LGBT group in their name. Choose something that will resonate with the person. Do they have children or grandchildren? Support The Trevor Project, The Matthew Shepard Foundation, a local LGBT youth center or the local Gay Straight Alliance.
Check if an organization is against gays and lesbians. Every year we see the Salvation Army bell ringers in front of stores. They do great work in the community. However, their website continues to preach against homosexuals. Some people put notes in the buckets saying that they will support the Salvation Army when they accept gays.
You can find some of this information on the HRC website and you can also go to a company’s website to look at their employment policies. For example, Exxon Mobil does not provide benefits to gay couples, BP does. Guess where I buy my gas? Looking for information on businesses that are actively anti-gay? Check out Gay News Watch.
What’s next? We buy products every day, not just during the holidays. Make it your resolution to choose companies that support the rights of gays and lesbians. Let a company know why you are or are not buying their goods or services. And include your church. What are they doing with the check that you put in the collection plate? Often times you can ‘earmark’ your donation for a particular use.
This year was an amazing one for pulling together people in the fight for equality. What a wonderful community of family to be part of. Let’s carry that momentum through Thanksgiving, the holidays and into our resolutions for the new year.
Peace on Earth, Equality and Human Dignity for All.
geekgirl: Jude is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.