November 27, 2022

Save the Net Books

Blogazine on Books, Arts, and Music

Resources for advocating and supporting LGBTQ+ communities

3 min read

Just minutes before the start of National Transgender Memorial Day, a gunman entered Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado and opened fire, killing five people and injuring at least 25. The club was one of the few places in town where queer people meet People could gather and socialize free from judgment and bigotry. As anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment has begun to dominate the nationwide conversation — often lightly veiled under the guise of “equality” in sport, accusations of “care” for children and protection of spaces created for women violence against these very communities has also increased.

The ongoing homophobic and transphobic attacks in the United States are overwhelming, especially for those whose right to exist is viewed by some as up for debate; the material and psychological dangers are all too real. Whether through direct action or mutual aid, here are some steps you can take to help:

Groups for mutual help and self-help

Nonprofits have high visibility and the ability to exert influence at the national level, but are often bogged down by high overhead costs and complex bureaucracy that divert much of their resources before they can reach those in need. Often the best way to make a significant difference in the lives of queer people is through mutual aid that recognizes and directly addresses the needs of vulnerable communities. Inside Out Youth Services has been supporting LGBTQ+ youth in Colorado Springs with programs and counseling since 1990. Some organizations, such as the Okra Project, Trevor Project, and Third Wave Fund, operate nationwide, but many mutual aid groups focus on local support. The Trans Housing Coalition, for example, is working to move Atlanta’s unhoused transgender and gender nonconforming people into long-term housing; For the Gworls hosts monthly parties to raise funds for black transgender hire and gender-affirming surgeries; Brattleboro, Vermont-based Out in the Open helps rural LGBTQ+ people build community; and Collective Focus is an artist collective that operates a resource center in North Brooklyn. If you’re having trouble finding a group in your community, you can also learn how to do it yourself.

Spectator intervention and de-escalation

A persistent theme in attacks on the LGBTQ+ community is the lack of support from law enforcement, which often fails to protect the most vulnerable members of the communities they are designed to serve. At Club Q, it was the club’s patrons who arrested the shooter; Victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando sued police for their inaction, and several were arrested or arrested while fleeing gunfire.

Protecting the marginalized begins by denouncing bigotry, no matter how harmless it seems. If you have witnessed harassment and/or violence, you should know that without action, it is unlikely to stop. De-escalating potentially violent situations is ideal, but when it’s up to you to protect yourself or others from a hateful attack, self-defense training can help save your life — and that of others.

Lobbying for elected officials

Hundreds of bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community were introduced in the United States this year. You can use this Freedom for All Americans legislative tracker to monitor these bills; contact the offices of these legislatures; Lobby and/or organize campaigns against their donors (which you can find on OpenSecrets); and support candidates who vote against these bills and advocate for equality and marginalized groups.

legal advice

If you’re being targeted by the state, your employer, or your healthcare provider, legal counsel can be a lifeline — but an expensive one. The National Center for Transgender Equality maintains a directory of companies and other organizations that provide legal services to transgender people, although many support the LGBTQ+ community at large. For those in New York, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center offers free monthly legal advice.

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