AI: Sweet (and Sour) Charity
All Out, the global LGBTQ* advocacy group, has recently hit one million members. If you’re not aware of it, it’s a charity that takes advantage of social media to spread the word about a wide variety of queer issues, relying on members signing petitions or donating money and then sharing the relevant links. It’s risen very quickly, has been involved in some significant victories, plus seems to be very focused on grassroots efforts. Having said that, signing electronic petitions could be considered a relatively small way to make a difference.
I feel as if a lot of organisations that proclaim to support LGBTQ* rights fall down in certain, similar ways. One way is the concentration on a narrow set of relatively privileged people. On a similar note, many ignore trans* issues altogether, or at least give them less exposure. One example of this is Stonewall, one of the largest UK LGB (yes, just those letters) charities. Though they pay lip service to trans* people, they don’t really utilise their considerable clout to help out any (smaller, less influential, poorer-funded) trans* charities. I suppose the argument that sexual orientation and gender are two separate issues is a fraction of an excuse, but when you consider the overlap and the traditional link between the two, as well as the fact that trans* rights are so much less accepted, it makes Stonewall’s omission all the stranger. They’ve done some other problematic things too, but what particularly baffles me about Stonewall is that an organisation that doesn’t advocate for trans* people would take its name from an event in which trans* people were heavily involved. (At the same time, apparently “inclusive” organisations that completely ignore trans* issues are probably a bit worse!)
A lot of organisations also concentrate heavily on same-sex marriage to the detriment of other, arguably more pressing issues. It’s important, sure, but I think making sure people are treated like human beings is a bit more important. Though it could be argued that All Out falls into these traps too, I do think it’s taking a step in the right direction. It has featured a variety of campaigns from all over the world, including those related to trans* issues, and while it could be accused of promoting “slacktivism”, I think that social media is potentially a very powerful tool and perhaps we shouldn’t be so dismissive of large online communities of people each performing a series of small but tangible actions. Finally, All Out has achieved quite a lot in a relatively small space of time – isn’t that the whole point?
Which charities and organisations – queer-related or otherwise – do you most actively support? How do you support them? Do you disagree strongly with any in particular (besides the obvious ones)?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.
(Featured image from All Out, if you hadn’t already guessed…)
I like Partners in Health (PIH) because they do a lot of work with healthcare and they focus on building community networks and infrastructure, and training up the local people to be able to take care of things themselves. Oxfam is good too, and I have a soft spot for the Fred Hollows foundation. As for queer-related organisations, there aren’t too many that I actively support apart from signing their petitions, but ACON (the Aids Council of New South Wales) is a great organisation here that does a lot of community health work around HIV and other queer health issues.