When Cristy and I first started 48 Months, we sat down and mapped out the first year of this project. We brainstormed about which nonprofits made the most sense for which months. If an organization’s major annual fundraiser is in May, let’s highlight them that month. We typed it up, made it all official-like. Then, the first week of the new administration happened and we both came down with nonprofit ADD. This group needs help. No, ohmygod, this group needs help more. Oh wait, this group is being completely disenfranchised and we should focus on them. It was a week of intense whiplash and wine consumption.
But, once the dust settled (hahaha….who are we kidding….we are living in a constant dust storm), we remembered that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and we re-focused on our original intention for February, the month of love (and groundhogs). Love comes in all shapes and sizes; Love makes the world go round; Love is all you need – there’s no shortage of love quotes for this month of Saint Valentine. And not a single one of these quotes has an asterisk on the end for “only if that love is between a man and a woman.”
The rhetoric volleyed around during the election season was harmful and fear-inducing for many groups, especially those in the LGBTQ community. The elation and tears of joy shed when Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote “No longer may this liberty be denied” about the court’s landmark same-sex marriage decision, are quickly fading as a scary new reality sets in.
We shared a coffee (and a few tears) with the Northern Arizona Pride Association’s Executive Director Kat Jim on the eve of the Inauguration. While she insists that “you can’t turn this election into anger,” she also realizes that the LGBTQ community needs a voice now more than ever. Now is the time for ALL of us to speak up about social injustice.
All those times you stayed quiet as your cousin (or dad, or wacky uncle) used unfathomable words to describe gay people at the Thanksgiving dinner table? Staying quiet is no longer an option. While there has yet to be a specific Executive Order or legislative action from this administration targeting the LGBTQ community, we all see the writing on the wall and know it’s only a matter of time. Gay Pride events, parades, and marches exist for ALL of us to celebrate and show our support of this community. Speak up, get involved, and be the voice this community needs.
Personally, I want to be a voice for my amazing sisters-in-law. I want to be a voice for the life and marriage they have built together, that they deserve to have together. I want my daughter and stepson to continue just seeing them as their aunts. They don’t question where an uncle might be, it doesn’t even occur to them. It’s the beauty of youth, and I want it to be the beauty of our future.
How can you help?
Cash: The Northern Arizona Pride Association’s mission is to “educate, celebrate, and increase acceptance and awareness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) community of Flagstaff and northern Arizona. Through the production of our annual Pride in the Pines festival, we aspire to make a positive difference in the LGBTQ reality while creating a sense of Community. It is our Mission to embrace, promote, and support our cultural diversity, civil, and human rights by fighting discrimination of any kind.” Donations help further this mission and checks can be mailed to:
Northern Arizona Pride Association P.O. Box 1604
Flagstaff, AZ 86002 Phone: (928) 213-1900
Sponsorship: Businesses can sponsor any of the Pride Association’s events, with the signature one being Pride in the Pines. Contact Kat Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Events: Get a little pre-Valentine’s Day fun in at the Halos and Horns Drag Show on February 11 at the Orpheum Theater. Cristy and I are rallying a group of our friends to attend and we’d love to see more #48Months supporters out there. This is a 16+ event, as the Pride Association is committed to reaching out to younger members of the LGBTQ community. Tickets available at: http://www.orpheumflagstaff.com/event/1410458-halos-horns-drag-show-flagstaff/
Volunteer: Pride in the Pines is a huge community events and it relies on volunteers to make it happen. Donate some time to this incredible cause: http://www.flagstaffpride.org/volunteer-application/
For those who don’t live in Flagstaff, we encourage you to reach out to your own Pride organizations to see how you can get involved and help be a voice for the LGBTQ community. If you’re looking for national organizations, here are some suggestions of where your dollars can make a difference:
GLAAD (http://www.glaad.org/): GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.
Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/): Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.