How To Support LGBTQ Rights Every Day
Donald Trump was finally inaugurated as President of the United States on Jan. 20, and so far, it's proceeding about as well (or, perhaps more accurately, as scarily) as one would expect — particularly for marginalized groups and people like the LGBTQ community. It's why building small acts of resistance to support LGBTQ rights into our everyday lives is more important now than ever. Although millions of people came together for the Women's March on Jan. 21, and further protests have emerged in response to the executive order concerning immigration Trump signed last weeks, activists are now faced with the question of how to keep that momentum going in the long term. While plenty of big protests are in the works, making a stand every day in whatever small ways we can matters, too.
At this point, it's no secret that the current president's administration is worrying for anyone whose last name isn't Trump. Sexist, racist, and xenophobic rhetoric characterized his campaign, and these concerns have continued to be major players after he was sworn in as well. Furthermore, his cabinet picks and closest advisors skew deeply conservative, including their views on LGBTQ rights.
Although 2015 was an historic year for the expansion of LGBTQ rights, 2016 wasn't necessarily worth celebrating — and that was while we were still under Barack Obama's liberal administration. Now in 2017, we're in a political climate where many of the people in the highest positions of power have histories of restricting LGBTQ rights. In 2006, for example, Vice President Mike Pence spoke in favor of a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to heterosexual unions, claiming that "societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family." The nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has been criticized for ties to anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Family Research Council. In December, the Boston Globe described Trump's cabinet as a "who's who of homophobia."
You get the idea. Right now, it's hugely important to make sure LGBTQ rights don't come under attack just a few years after things started looking up. With that in mind, here are 21 small ways to support the LGBTQ community under Trump's administration.
1. Set up a Google alert for LGBTQ news.
2. Keep an eye on your local representatives.
3. When they do something you like, call them.
4. When they do something you dislike, call them.
5. In fact, call them to make sure they know you support LGBTQ rights.
6. If you're in school, join your local pride club or Gay-Straight Alliance. If one doesn't exist, consider starting one.
7. If you're a parent, join PFLAG to improve the lives of LGBTQ students.
8. Support work by LGBTQ authors, artists, and business owners.
9. Pay attention to people's pronouns.
10. If you're not sure of someone's pronoun, ask (politely). It might be awkward, but not as awkward as referring to them incorrectly all the time.
11. Learn what the acronym stands for. Don't feel like you have to have it memorized, but at least make an effort to be informed.
12. Set up a one-time or monthly donation to organizations like the Trans United Fund, the nation's first transgender advocacy group, or the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
13. Participate in Give OUT Day, an unofficial holiday for donating to LGBTQ charities, on Aug. 2.
14. Set a goal for reading at least three LGBTQ news articles each week. That's less than one a day; you can find the time.
15. Stay away from businesses that don't support LGBTQ equality. There are more of them than you'd think.
16. Watch Trump's administration carefully. Even if parts of Obama's legacy are left intact in name, they might be modified to suit a more conservative bent.
17. Be vocal about your support for LGBTQ people — in person, not just on Facebook.
18. Look up the dates for local elections, and read up on politicians' views on LGBTQ rights before it's time to vote.
19. Start a book club with your friends, where you read one book a month written by or about LGBTQ people.
20. Sign up for your local LGBTQ organization's newsletter, and volunteer when you get the chance. They might even organize a protest or two.
21. Remember that actions are far more indicative of how a politician will spend their time in office than whether they pay lip service to equality. Trump is nominally a supporter of LGBTQ rights (well, he took a picture with a rainbow flag once), but a quick look at his cabinet picks shows a different picture entirely.