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Gearing up for the National Equality March: 11 Things You Can Do.

September 28, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Commentary, Featured, iQreport, Thought of the Gay

NEmThe  National Equality March is just around the calendar corner, Sunday, October 11, 2009, in Washington D.C. Actually, there are events planned all weekend.

We know that there are many people who are going to the march. We also know that there are many people who would like to go to the Equality March but can’t. Either the timing is bad, they can’t afford it, or it’s too difficult to make the trip.

There are still ways that you can help. This message is for everyone, gay or straight. In honor of the eleventh of October, which is also Coming Out day, we have eleven ideas for you. Because ten ideas is so straight.

  1. Send a donation to Equality Across America where your donation is tax-deductible.  or your local Equality Now group.
  2. Subsidize a friend who wants to go. We at Jaysays have supported three people. Don’t know anyone? Donate to “Give Up Your Morning Coffee for LGBT Equality”
  3. If money is a problem, there are many groups offering low cost transportation and lodging. Look at the Equality Across America webpage. Find a friend to share a room with.  Get a group together and drive to Washington DC.  Check out Priceline, Hotwire or other sites known for cheap rates.
  4. If you live near a university or in a larger city, check out your local LGBT groups. In Madison, Wisconsin, for example, students can take a bus round trip to Washington, DC for $60.
  5. Save money by being more frugal. You can do it! Bring a lunch, give up your latte, don’t go out to dinner or the movies, no new CDs or video games, take those unused items to a consignment shop, or sell things on Craigslist or eBay.
  6. Tell your parents, significant other or friends, including your Facebook friends, that going to the Equality March is what you would like for Christmas or your birthday instead of a present. What better present can you get than the kind that gives all people equality?
  7. If you are going, offer to put the name of someone who cannot go on your sign. Represent others who cannot attend. Better yet, wear a White Knot for each person you are representing.
  8. Write to the president, your Senators and Congressional Representatives before the March, telling them what equal rights means to you.  You can do this by email and it is free. Also contact your state and local representative asking for equal rights in your state.
  9. Write to your local news stations and national news stations and ask them to cover the March.  Most networks have a website with a contact button.
  10. If you are at a college campus, participate in the Chalk Messages Project. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper before the march. Yes, people do read newspapers, especially people who do not read the Internet.
  11. Speak up whenever you hear someone make a degrading comment about LGBT individuals. Not just for this march. Do it year round. Because silence equals agreement. It’s really easy to say, in a nice voice, “I’m sure you don’t mean that because it could hurt someone. I have gay friends and it hurts me.”  You may not be able to change the world. But you can change the world within your reach.

We hope to see you at the march, but even if you can’t go, you can make a difference.

Join In and Spread the <3 | 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project

September 22, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Community Outreach, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

youarelovedStarting at noon on October 5th and ending one week later on October 12th, students at colleges and high schools across the country will write messages of love and equality on sidewalks using chalk. The timing is meant to coincide with Coming Out Day, which is October 11th.The students at Drew University started a tradition of writing messages of equality and love to LGBT individuals. Jen Dugan has taken on spreading this tradition to other schools, creating the 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project.

For those of you unfamiliar with chalk messages, they are a time honored tradition at many schools. Chalk messages were written on sidewalks to protest the Vietnam war, to announce campus events and to make relevant, political statements for at least 40 years now.  It’s good to know that something as simple as a piece of chalk and a sidewalk can send a message.

Please encourage your school’s Gay Straight Alliance, LGBT Union or other student groups to participate.  You can find information on how to participate in this project at the end of this blog. We would like to share with you the following message from The Chalk Message Project”

Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) community are far too often the subject of hateful rhetoric. From slurs to jokes to anti-gay sermons spewed around the country – society often tries to tell us that GLBTQ individuals are evil or strange.

Despite the incredible strides being made with equality – GLBTQ individuals are still often made to feel isolated and alone. Anywhere from 25-50% of GLBTQ youth are initially rejected by their families. An estimated 60% of GLBTQ youth feel unsafe in American schools due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. GLBTQ youth are still four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

It’s time to combat the influence of hateful rhetoric that seeks to isolate members of the GLBTQ community. It’s time to remind our community members that they are never alone.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, students at Drew University began penning inspirational messages in sidewalk chalk that read, “You are loved,” “You are wonderful,” and “You are beautiful.”

These chalk messages quickly became a familiar quirk around Drew’s campus – popping up every Coming Out Week and Day of Silence to remind members of the GLBTQ community that they are loved – and that their love is appreciated.

In April of 2009, a member of Montclair State University’s Spectrums approached one of the original authors of the chalk messages. She asked her if the initiative could be made statewide.

Why stop at statewide?

This year, we are asking colleges and high schools everywhere to participate in the chalk message project.

All that is required is a simple piece of sidewalk chalk – and a couple of your own inspirational, positive quotes. Write these quotes all over the grounds of your campus – for everyone to see.

We also highly encourage schools participating to write an opinions piece to your school newspaper explaining the meaning behind the project. Let’s educate society on the need for loving dialogue rather than divisive hate speech.

What: 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project
When: Monday October 5th, 2009
Where: College campuses and high schools everywhere
This project will continue to occur annually at the beginning of Coming Out Week

For more information, please email Jen at chalkmessages@gmail.com or at the group’s website http://dreamsuntitled.tumblr.com/

Please send us an email if your school plans to participate!!!!!!

Note: Some campuses have rules against using sidewalk chalk. If your school would like to participate but is encountering red tape, please send us an email. We will contact your school and explain to them that this is not graffiti. This is part of an equality project.

~*Help us spread the word. Invite all your friends*~ Click here to  join the Facebook group

Please share the message and invite your friends to their Facebook group.  Also, we’d love to see photos after the event, so be sure to upload them and send us a link!

On September 30, 2009, Jen Dugan will be the guest on Closet Talk at 8 pm central time.  Please join us and learn more about Jen and the 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project.