Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights is a constantly evolving field that can be difficult to keep up with. To help you with this, here is a list of several organizations that deal with LGBT rights and specialize in different areas such as employment rights, marriage rights, immigration rights and so on.
This post is not meant as an exhaustive list, but rather as an overview that the reader can use as a reference point for some of the campaign groups and research organizations that the blogging team here at Care2 will no doubt reference when writing about LGBT rights and civil rights.
This is the first in a series of informational posts designed to keep you informed on LGBT rights. Periodically, this post will be updated with further resources and links to other such posts.
So, here we go:
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - HRC is the largest national LGBT organization in America. Founded in 1980, the organization aims to work toward full civil equality for LGBT Americans. Although dealing with many issues that are important to LGBTs, HRC is a good resource for the political aspect of gay rights and quite often is one of the first groups to analyze and evaluate new legislation. They also create various studies and documents useful to suporting LGBT equality such as the LGBT Equality Index.
Lambda Legal – Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to supporting the cause for equality in the court room, backing “impact litigation, education and advocacy” and supporting LGBT individuals and HIV sufferers. From pursuing equality in the workplace, to breaking down the legal barriers that prevent LGBTs from attaining equal partnership rights, Lambda Legal has been involved in countless courtroom battles and their website is especially useful in staying informed on the latest moves to combat such discriminatory legislation as the Defense of Marriage Act. Click here for Lambda Legal news.
Lambda Legal also have a large impact at a local level and have a number of offices throughout America. To find out what Lambda Legal is doing in your state, please click here.
Palm Center – Founded in 1998, the Palm Center is a research institute based at the University of California. Palm Center was originally known as the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military [CSSMM], but in 2006 changed its name. Palm Center is committed to exposing the fallacies of the military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy that bans openly gay personnel from serving in the US Army.
Palm Center has published several documents detailing the need to repeal the policy and, on the Palm Center blog, there are often personal insights into the negative impact of DADT, as well as other posts refuting arguments that DADT is necessary for unit cohesion and strength. Stay informed about the fight against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with the Palm Center.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation - The Matthew Shepard Foundation is an LGBT rights organization that was founded in 1998 by Dennis and Judy Shepard after their son, Matthew Shepard, was the victim of a hate crime. Following his death, the Shepards pursued an extension of federal hate crime laws so as to make sexuality, gender identity and disability into protected classes.
In late 2009 they were successful in having the Matthew Shepard Act pass through Congress and be signed into law, the rather complicated details of which you can read about here.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation continues to be a leader in the fight to change hearts and minds at a local level with their “Erase Hate” message at the forefront of everything they do.
As well as an Equality Initiative which contains information on equality issues at a state level, the Matthew Shepard Foundation also runs a special program for educating young people about LGBT issues and providing resources in an age sensitive and appropriate manner. Read about their youth program here.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) – GLSEN aims to foster a positive and affirming environment in schools regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. GLSEN sponsors the National Day of Silence that is designed to combat homophobia, as well as No Name Calling Week. For information on LGBT issues in schools, GLSEN are a leading network and provide regular updates in their newsletter as well as offering key research documents on the treatment of LGBT students in America’s schools.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) - GLAAD is an organization dedicated to ensuring that LGBT people receive fair and equal representation in the entertainment and media industries so as to combat homophobia, anti-gay rhetoric and to educate the wider community by providing an accurate picture of LGBT people and their lifestyles. GLAAD actively campaigns to combat stereotypes and homophobia in mediums such as film, television and music, and also charts the representation of LGBTs and their issues in media programming from year to year. Read more on what GLAAD plan to do between 2009 and 2013 by going here.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is an organization committed to building “grassroots power” to equip and aid other organizations and groups with the tools to stop anti-LGBT initiatives and advance pro-LGBT legislation.
Through it’s think tank called the “Policy Institute”, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has authored a number of reports on a wide range of issues including its most recent report “Opening the Door to the Inclusion of Transgender People: The Nine Keys to Making Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organizations Fully Transgender-Inclusive.” As may be apparent, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is an ideal resource for information on transgender issues in particular, as well as having a specific section for bisexuality related issues.
Immigration Equality – Immigration Equality is a national organization that aims to end the disparity in immigration laws that force apart bi-racial LGBT couples. Immigration Equality also works to secure asylum for LGBT and HIV+ individuals who have been forced to flee their home country because of persecution and violence. Immigration Equality have a specific section for transgender individuals and their immigration issues, and the Immigration Equality blog also gives information on what the lifting of HIV+ travel ban means and how and when the change in US immigration law will come into effect.
Out4Immigration – Out4Immigration also aims to highlight and combat the disparity in immigration policy that LGBT people face if their partner is a foreign national. The organization’s focus is on grassroots action however, and the material found at Out4Immigration demonstrates how to personally get involved and lobby for LGBT inclusive immigration reform.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – ACLU works on a number of key civil rights issues as well as LGBT rights. The organization aims to ensure that minority groups are being given all the rights that they are promised under the American Constitution, including freedom of speech, equality under the law and the right to due process.
The ACLU’s LGBT rights focus includes same-sex partnership and marriage rights, as well as ensuring LGBT equality in the workplace. The ACLU also has a number of blogs, some of which deal with issues relating to LGBT parenting and adoption rights, as well as legal difficulties that people in LGBT relationships face. The ACLU are an ideal resource for finding out about newly announced litigation and legislation in all civil rights fields.
Truth Wins Out (TWO) – An organization dedicated to combating the myth of a gay “cure”, TWO aims to fight the ex-gay industry and to help those who have had trouble accepting their homosexuality come to terms with it rather than seeking medically unsound and sometimes dangerous “treatments”. TWO has also created the website RespectMyResearch.org designed to allow researchers to reply when certain members of ex-gay and anti-gay groups take scientific studies and distort the data in order to support an anti-gay agenda.
Finally, if, like most people, you are pressed for time but still care deeply about LGBT issues, here is a resource that combines the rest of these links and more into one elegant little package:
Gay Rights Media – Gay Rights Media collects the best in international LGBT Rights information, videos, podcasts and news, and condenses all of it into one single stream. You can get involved on Facebook, or you can add the Gay Rights Media stream on Twitter.
Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to -Marlith-.