One of the most frequent questions I am asked while advocating for LGBT social justice is:
“What can I do to help?”
My simplest suggestion: Make it known that you are a friend.
It is easy enough to get swamped by the diverse range of specific issues that accompany LGBT equality. In broad terms, increasing tolerance and compassion, means setting our sights on supporting basic human dignity as well as how we reflect the expression of that dignity through civil rights. I am particularly fond doing what I can to encourage increased awareness and tolerance in faith communities, as I myself have intimately experienced the important connection between a healthy spirit and human dignity. As I am finding out, equality is more than legislation, it is about the heart of community. It is about being open to being a friend.
Through the many Inside Out Faith events over the past year, some of the most heart-wrenching things I hear are the accounts of many who have been bullied because of their sexual orientation. It’s more than sticks and stones. Attacking the core dignity of a human being through words is only the beginning of what can later turn into physical harm. The cunning nature of prejudicial speech is the potential violence it may incite. If violence can begin with an expressed idea…then so too can peace.
That’s one of the reasons I’ll be wearing purple on October 19th.
Along with my good friends at GLAAD, I’m donning my colors to show that I am in the spirit of change. Let folks know your spirit…it begins with being seen as a friend.