Equality Utah - Issues
Thursday, 31 May 2018 14:09

LGBTQ Legacy: James Baldwin

“LGBTQ Legacy” is a series of Equality Utah posts celebrating influential lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals who have gone before us. Each post focuses on a particular person and reflects upon the ways we can honor their memory.

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was a celebrated novelist, playwright, and social critic. The 2016 documentary I Am Not Your Negro is based on Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript and has renewed people’s appreciation for all Baldwin contributed to the literary world and to the national conversation on racism as a gay black man in the United States.

Born and raised in Harlem, Baldwin showed an early talent for writing and was encouraged by various mentors at school and in his community. He left the United States for France in his twenties, motivated largely by his need to escape the racial prejudices that prevailed in his home country. His most notable works include the novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and a collection of essays called Notes of a Native Son.

James Baldwin addressed the injustices of racial discrimination with eloquence, vulnerability, and strength. Here are a few ways we can each become inspired by his legacy and feel empowered by the words he left behind:

1. “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” James Baldwin was a dedicated student of the American story and understood its complexity. In this quote and in his other works, Baldwin called attention to the United States’ complicated history. As we consider the struggles for equality and acceptance today, do we understand how our struggles fit into the larger story? Even if we aren’t as devoted to studying history as Baldwin was, we can each develop more appreciation for the equality movement’s previous successes and failures, which will help us feel more connected to those who came before us and will allow us to see a more complete picture of the world, with all its beautiful and its terrible parts.

2. “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” To have a special influence in a child’s life, we can pay attention to the words we use and the ways we treat those around us, especially in Utah, the state with the highest birth rate in the nation. All children—including those who are LGBTQ or come from LGBTQ families—deserve to live where they will be recognized and valued for who they are and deserve to be brought up and be educated by adults who teach by example that all people are worthy of respect and belonging. We can set powerful examples by supporting fair and just policies and laws and by treating others kindly and working to better our communities.

3. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” While Baldwin did spend the majority of his adult life in Europe, he didn’t turn a blind eye to problems in the United States. He continued to write and speak about the history of racial oppression in his home country and worked as an active participant in the civil rights movement. He saw what needed to be changed and faced those things head on. As we encounter injustice today, we may wonder whether change is even possible. But, to create fair and just communities, places where LGBTQ citizens and their families are valued and protected, we each need to face the current reality, look at the issues, and work to understand them better. Then, as we accept Baldwin’s insight that “nothing can be changed until it is faced,” we can gain the courage to push past our fears, become more involved in the political process, and address problems of inequality and discrimination more directly.

Baldwin’s influence in literary circles and in the forming of black social consciousness in the 20th century continues to resonate today, allowing the LGBTQ community and its allies to learn from his insights.

What else have you learned from James Baldwin’s words or example? And which other LGBTQ heroes would you like to see featured in Equality Utah’s future “LGBTQ Legacy” blog posts?

Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter (@EqualityUtah) or Facebook (facebook.com/EqualityUtah).

Are you ready to face and to change issues affecting Utah’s LGBTQ community? If so, we can suggest some great places to start: check out our resource guide, attend one of our signature events, or think about volunteering for Equality Utah!

The Salt Lake Men’s Choir (SLMC) is sometimes called “Utah’s Other Choir.” However, Justin Hudspeth, vice president of SLMC, says the group is “more than just a choir. It’s like a little family.”

Hudspeth has been a member of SLMC for three years and finds himself constantly inviting new people to rehearsals because he’s felt the choir to be so personally enriching and he wants to offer others the same feeling of being welcome.

“Some men don’t feel that they have a place to belong, but [SLMC] welcomes men from all different walks of life,” says Hudspeth. “The [SLMC] is an interesting cross-section of humans, and we all find a little bit in common as we come together to share a few songs.”

The group also likes to share their talents on behalf of charity. Of SLMC’s three or four performances each year, the choir strives to dedicate at least one to fundraising for a good cause. In 2017, the SLMC held a three-night concert and collected six large barrels full of food for the Volunteers of America’s Youth Resource Centerfor homeless teens.

This choir welcomes those of all abilities. Interested singers can find SLMC’s rehearsal schedule here

To find other like-minded LGBTQ community groups, visit Equality Utah’s Resource Guide.

Thursday, 26 April 2018 09:43

EU’s Featured Media: LGBTQ&A Podcast

Jeffrey Masters’s podcast, LGBTQ&A, is as subtly clever as the wordplay in its name. Masters, the host, interviews “all races, genders, sexualities, and everyone in between” with quiet insights that pull each show together on several levels of sophistication. His warm interest quickly draws listeners into each guest’s inner world, which creates an intimate atmosphere that feels like a liberating confessional. And Masters’s succinct commentary often manages to make his guests’ experiences seem more like revelations about the world at large.

In a world where queerness is fast becoming a new norm, LGBTQ&A guests have timely messages for people of all orientations and backgrounds. By asking thought-provoking questions and adding his timely insights, Jeffrey Masters creates interviews that are easy for anyone to relate to.

Sexuality is a common topic on LGBTQ&A, where there are stories about coming-out, long-term relationships, disastrous romances, overcoming challenges, and inspiring acts of vulnerability, courage, and cowardice. Perhaps the greatest achievement in each LGBTQ&A episode is Masters’s ability to remarry the themes of sexuality and humanity, providing his listeners with a more expansive outlook.

By sharing these powerful stories, LGBTQ&A is helping to create a world where inclusion and acceptance will be a natural part of everyday life.

To share Masters’s LGBTQ&A podcast or listen to its episodes, subscribe on your phone’s app or online, at https://www.lgbtqpodcast.com.

If you would like to have a podcast considered for Equality Utah’s weekly LGBTQ media spotlight, let us know in the comments below or email .

Thursday, 26 April 2018 09:25

LGBTQ Legacy: Sister Rosetta Tharpe

 “LGBTQ Legacy” is a series of Equality Utah posts celebrating influential lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals who have gone before us. Each post focuses on a particular person and reflects upon the ways we can honor their memory.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973) was a seminal artist and gifted performer who is now credited with literally inventing rock and roll as a musical genre by combining her love of gospel music with her blues sensibilities. During her career, Tharpe became a legend for her powerful voice and unbelievable skill and innovation on the electric guitar.

Today, Tharpe is remembered not only for her considerable musical talents but also for breaking barriers as a black queer woman, onstage and in the public eye. Here are a few ways we can pay tribute to this fantastic person:

1. We can look at the art forms we love and ask whose influence has been forgotten. In our memories, the work of some artists may get overshadowed because the work of other artists is more popular or mainstream. In the past few decades, this was true for Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who wasn’t inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame until 2017. Today, she is remembered and honored for her courage as a black performer working in an era of entrenched racial segregation. She was also queer and was a woman, two attributes that, during her time, may have made it more difficult for her to receive the recognition she deserves as the originator of rock and roll, even though Tharpe was releasing songs in this new genre while Elvis Presley was still a child. We should each discover whether similarly incredible and influential people have been forgotten from modern memory in the art forms we enjoy. Then, by acknowledging the contributions of these artists, we can pay tribute to Tharpe and others like her.

2. We can honor each person’s need for privacy and flexibility concerning sexual identity. Our culture has changed in important ways since the 1940s and 1950s, and many more people are now able to be open about their homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender identity, and queerness. Still, because of continuing discrimination and hate crimes, there are people today who, like Tharpe, find it necessary or beneficial to keep their LGBTQ identities more private or only known to a certain group of people they trust.We can pay tribute to Tharpe by respecting their choices, trusting people to be their own authorities on what level of openness is right for themselves. We can also recognize that people are unique and allow them to be and to love whomever they will.We can notice a more diverse group of trailblazers from our own era.

3. We can notice a more diverse group of trailblazers from our own era. Artists who are making waves and challenging norms in 2018 are the “Sister Rosetta Tharpes” of today. But it’s not always easy to be the first to forge a new path in the public eye. So much of our modern musical landscape can be traced back to Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Her vast influence shows us once again that LGBTQ people do not deserve to be viewed as secondary or marginal but deserve to be valued as contributors to our world and its many cultures.

Watch for those who take inspiring risks creatively, politically, socially, and in every other area of life. Then, as we recognize their courage and vision—and as we support their work—we can pay tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Equality Utah applauds this amazing LGBTQ hero and hopes to see her work appreciated for generations to come.

What do you most admire about Sister Rosetta Tharpe? And, which other LGBTQ heroes would you like to see featured in future “LGBTQ Legacy” blog posts?

Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter (@EqualityUtah) or Facebook (facebook.com/EqualityUtah).

Looking for ways to forge a new trail of your own? Reach out to volunteer, attend an upcoming EU event, or find helpful resources at EqualityUtah.org.

Stephen Lambert

So. Utah Coordinator

Email:

Stephen Lambert grew up with a passion for serving others. While he did not know quite what field he would pursue, he always knew it would be in the hospitality business. After majoring in communications and psychology, he pursued the hotel administration degree at UNLV where he graduated in 1992. After working in the industry for twenty years in various leadership positions, he turned to employee and personal development through training to resorts and care facilities. He resides in beautiful St. George, where he is serves as the Director of Human Resources at Red Mountain Resort overseeing a team of 250 employees.

He also works as the Southern Utah Coordinator, spreading Equality Utah's vision of a fair and just Utah to the community.

He is the father of five beautiful children and the grandpa two of the cutest grandchildren in the world. He loves to travel the world, is an avid backpacker and enjoys nothing more than a hammock on the beach with a good book.

You are invited to this year’s Equality Celebration!

Over the past eight years, southern Utah has been the site of an incredible annual event spotlighting the LGBTQ community in our state and acknowledging how much progress it’s made. Each year, this fabulous fundraiser has inspired hundreds of guests to take stock of all we’ve accomplished together in our quest for equality and to look to the future, ready to do even more in the year to come.

“It is so important that we build a stronger LGBTQ+ community in Southern Utah, and events like this one, sponsored by Equality Utah, help make it possible,” says Stephen Lambert, Equality Utah’s Southern Utah Coordinator and co-chair of this year’s Equality Celebration. “It’s literally a matter of saving lives: emotionally, spiritually, and physically.”

This year’s Equality Celebration honors our continuing hope and determination through its theme of “All You Need is Love.”

When: Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 6–9pm

Where: The DSU Film Studio at 317 South Donlee Drive, in St. George, Utah

Who’s invited: You and everyone you know! Anyone who believes in equality and wants to celebrate it in style is welcome to attend. Check out the FAQ here!

The Equality Celebration is an important way for LGBTQ Utahns and their allies to connect with others in their local communities.

With southern Utah as the site of this incredible annual event, wear your favorite ‘60s fashions and prepare yourself for delicious food and drinks, a Beatles tribute band, a silent auction, and inspiring words from our speakers and honorees.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now, and the cost to attend is considered a tax-deductible contribution to the Equality Utah Foundation and helps us continue to provide education and outreach all over Utah. Please reserve your tickets today for this fantastic night of friendship, laughter, and celebration of our LGBTQ community. We hope you’ll join us to show southern Utah all the love we have to give!

Apply for a scholarship to attend here!

 

EU EqualityCelebration2018 SocialMeme LOVE V3

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 12:38

LGBTQ Legacy: Bayard Rustin

“LGBTQ Legacy” is a series of Equality Utah posts celebrating influential lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals who have gone before us. Each post focuses on a particular person and reflects upon the ways we can honor their memory.

Bayard Rustin (1912–1987) was born in Pennsylvania and was raised by his maternal grandparents. His grandmother Julia was active in the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and so, in his early years, Rustin spent time with NAACP leaders like W. E. B. Du Bois and James Weldon Johnson. These influences, along with his upbringing in the Quaker faith, led Rustin to protest against Jim Crow laws and become a leading voice in the civil rights movement. Today, he is widely remembered for his work on the historic 1963 March on Washington, as an advocate for nonviolence, as an advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and as a gay rights activist.

In fact, many of the most notable events of the civil rights era were spurred on by Bayard Rustin. He co-organized the Journey of Reconciliation, the first of the Freedom Rides, to challenge segregation on interstate buses. He was part of the task force chosen in 1955 to write “Speak Truth to Power: A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence,” an influential pacifist essay. And, after learning techniques of nonviolent civil resistance in India, Rustin advised Martin Luther King Jr. on his organization of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. As Dr. King and Rustin continued to work together, they founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Most famously, Bayard Rustin was the lead organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the site of Dr. King’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech.

In addition to being a believer in nonviolence, a committed activist, and a civil rights hero, Bayard Rustin was also a gay man. He posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013 and is remembered for his tireless work to build a more just and peaceful world. Here are some of the insights we can gain from his example:

1. We can support freedom and positive change for all people.
Bayard Rustin didn’t limit his service to causes that personally affected him. Instead, he saw the related nature of all forms of bigotry and oppression and felt it was his duty to help end these injustices wherever he could. For example, Rustin traveled to California to help protect the property of Japanese Americans who had been imprisoned between 1942 and 1945 in internment camps during World War II. In the ’70s and ’80s, he lent his voice to the plight of Jewish people in the Soviet Union, a community Rustin saw was experiencing much of the same unfair treatment and policies that African Americans were receiving in the United States. In Rustin’s own words, “If I do not fight bigotry wherever it is, bigotry is thereby strengthened. And to the degree that it is strengthened, it will, thereby, have the power to turn on me.” As reflected in the mission and vision of Equality Utah, we similarly believe that everyone in our state deserves to be treated with respect and understanding and should be afforded the same basic freedoms and opportunities as everyone else.

2. We can maintain our values in spite of persecution, abuse, or isolation.
Although Rustin’s talents and dedication were well established, his known homosexuality and one-time allegiance to the Communist party were serious problems for many others in the civil rights movement. So he was shunned in some circles and was even denied credit for some of his most impressive work.

Rather than abandon the cause, Rustin chose to work primarily behind the scenes, doing all he could in spite of this poor treatment. Then, in the later years of his life, Rustin advocated for gay rights in the state of New York and took the unconventional step of legally adopting his partner, Walter Naegle, as this was the only official way to gain legal recognition and protect their rights in their relationship at that time.

3. We can pay attention to discrimination within activist groups.
As we work in various organizations and political movements, we should try to be reflective and humble enough to notice ways we may also be falling short. Just because we may be in the right on one issue doesn’t mean we will be in the right on everything.

Within the civil rights movement, there were those who saw Rustin’s sexual orientation as a drawback or disqualifier. He acknowledged this difficulty when he said, “Martin Luther King, with whom I worked very closely, became very distressed when a number of the ministers working for him wanted him to dismiss me from his staff because of my homosexuality.”

Perhaps no group can meet the standard of perfection. But, when we see injustice or prejudice being perpetuated in any group we belong to, it’s worthwhile to name the problem and address it directly. Only then can we fully support our mission of securing equal rights and protections for everyone, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Utahns and their families.

4. We can make intersectionality a core part of our activism.
Bayard Rustin’s very life and work highlight the importance of understanding intersectionality, or the ways that various oppressions can overlap and various identities can exist within one person. None of us are simply our sexual orientation or our race or our gender identity or our age; all these parts of us interact. Complete equality would mean that we would never have to hide these aspects of ourselves in order to be accepted or valued.

Rustin’s legacy as a gay, black man still speaks volumes and influences younger generations. According to another civil rights advocate, Preston Mitchum, “Previously,… it was [not] possible to identify with myself fully without feeling the need to take off layers when entering into various spaces… [but] Rustin also taught me that the experience of being Black and being gay could not be understood independently, but must include the interactions of our multiple identities that frequently occur together… and show[ed] me and other Black LGBT people the importance of [this] intersectionality and walking in your truth.”

Ultimately, we can each continue to honor Bayard Rustin by walking in our own truths and dedicating ourselves to making a world where people are free to be exactly who they are.

What do you most admire about Bayard Rustin? And, which other LGBTQ heroes would you like to see featured in future “LGBTQ Legacy” blog posts? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter (@EqualityUtah) or Facebook (facebook.com/EqualityUtah).

Looking for ways to follow Rustin’s example in your own activism? Reach out to volunteer, attend an upcoming EU event, or find helpful resources at EqualityUtah.org.

Thursday, 08 March 2018 14:51

EU's Featured Media: The BiCast Podcast

The BiCast is an award-winning podcast that covers a broad spectrum of LGBTQ issues, ranging from activism to education to current events, alongside a healthy dose of art, music, and poetry. It stays fresh by hosting a wide variety of guests, who present news, information, or opinions and participate in lively discussions. The overall tone of the episodes varies from week to week, but they each still manage to stay vivid and on point.

The BiCast has recently invited listeners to take part in a series called Our Stories, which they describe as “a project to collect, archive, and present the lives of our Bi+ community.…our tragedies, triumphs, and share lessons learned.” All LGBTQ people are invited to participate in this series as part of what The BiCast views as its “expanding community.”

The BiCast’s Our Stories series can help anyone wanting to learn from the experiences of others. Or you can share your own experiences by contributing to the Our Stories series yourself when you visit theBiCast.org. Episodes of The BiCast are also available for download via your iOS app or Google Play.

Do you have a favorite film, podcast, or book you love or one that has made a difference in your life which you would like to see featured in future Equality Utah “Featured Media” blog posts?

Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @EqualityUtah or Facebook at www.facebook.com/EqualityUtah.

Monday, 26 February 2018 15:40

LGBTQ Legacy: Harvey Milk

“LGBTQ Legacy” is a series of Equality Utah posts celebrating influential lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals who have gone before us. Each post focuses on a particular person and reflects upon the ways we can honor their memory.

Harvey Milk (1930–1978) was born and raised on Long Island, New York, but he is best known for his work as an openly gay politician in San Francisco in the 1970s. Milk’s speeches and elections invigorated his supporters and received national media attention. But, tragically, his political career and his life were cut short in November 1978, when he and San Francisco’s current mayor were assassinated by a former fellow city supervisor who had recently resigned. The two killings were a shock to the city and the nation, and, in the aftermath, mourners honored the fallen men with spontaneous candlelight vigils and memorials.

Harvey Milk is still honored today as a community organizer, a gifted speaker, and an inspiring leader in San Francisco’s gay community. He was even a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Here are some of the lessons LGBTQ people and their allies can learn from his compelling example:

1. We can respect a person’s ability to evolve and make a difference at any age. Although Harvey Milk is remembered best for his work and influence as a politician, he didn’t enter the political arena until relatively late in his life. He spent his earlier years in classrooms, in the military, in office environments, and running his own business. These experiences helped form Milk into the man who would eventually inspire a community and lay the groundwork for LGBTQ equality in the decades to follow.
Although we might expect people to have their worldviews and life paths firmly set while still in their youth, the truth is that we can each change. When asked about his choice to run for office, Milk was quoted in The San Francisco Examiner as saying, “I finally reached the point where I knew I had to become involved or shut up.” Like Milk, we can adjust our values and find new trajectories, even in our 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond.


2. We can remember the value of our local communities and neighborhoods. Milk’s campaigns focused not only on the gay liberation movement but also on the importance of having strong neighborhoods. He supported increased access to childcare and public transportation, opposed the closing of an elementary school, and responded to basic complaints about stop signs and potholes. In Milk’s own words, “The American Dream starts with the neighborhoods. If we wish to rebuild our cities, we must first rebuild our neighborhoods. And to do that, we must understand that the quality of life is more important than the standard of living. To sit on the front steps—whether it’s a veranda in a small town or a concrete stoop in a big city—and to talk to our neighborhoods is infinitely more important than to huddle on the living-room lounger and watch a make-believe world in not-quite living color.”
Equality Utah shares Milk’s desire to build healthy, engaged neighborhoods. We host events, like our QTalks and annual Allies Dinners, in an effort to bring people together. And we hope that EU’s active volunteering efforts also help people to feel more invested in their local communities and neighborhoods.


3. We can live authentically. Milk, of course, was forthright about his sexual orientation. And he encouraged other gay men and women to live openly as well. In 1978, at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade during the summer before his death, Milk gave an electrifying speech, saying, “On this anniversary of Stonewall I ask my gay sisters and brothers to make the commitment to fight. For themselves. For their freedom. For their country.... Gay people, we will not win their rights by staying quietly in our closets.... We are coming out! We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions! We are coming out to tell the truth about gays! For I am tired of the conspiracy of silence.… So I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it.” In other words, Harvey Milk exemplified sincerity in his public life, and he made the most of his unique talents rather than trying to fit the mold of an electable politician.

4. We can appreciate the wider impact of LGBTQ visibility. In his signature speech, Milk declared, “Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped… will give up. And if you help elect to the central committee and other offices, more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone. So if there is a message I have to give, it is that if I’ve found one overriding thing about my personal election, it’s the fact that if a gay person can be elected, it’s a green light. And you and you and you, you have to give people hope.”
Ultimately, the fight for a more accepting, loving world isn’t complete if only one group of people is making strides forward. Harvey Milk reminded his supporters, many of whom were gay men, that their fight wasn’t just about them: it was relevant to all the people on the margins of society. And he saw his campaigns and his time in public office as a hopeful beacon to anyone who needed it.

Has the example of Harvey Milk made a difference in your life? And, which other LGBTQ heroes would you like to see featured in future “LGBTQ Legacy” blog posts?
Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter (@EqualityUtah) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/EqualityUtah).

Looking for ways to follow Harvey Milk’s example in your own activism? Reach out to volunteer, attend an upcoming EU event, or find helpful resources at EqualityUtah.org.

If you’re thinking of stepping up your activism this year, it might be tough to know where to start. With so many causes and organizations that are worthy of your time, how do you decide which ones to support? And, what kind of support will be most valuable? The questions often only get more complex from there.

Activism can be a lifelong enterprise, an endless journey towards justice, liberty, and opportunity for all. There’s a lot to learn along the way.

Here are five suggestions for getting started:

1. Know Yourself: As you dip your toes into these new waters, it’s important to have a certain amount of self-understanding. Knowing your own strengths, limits, and interests will allow you to make a valuable, sustainable contribution in your community.
First, consider whether you have a natural aptitude for organizing, public speaking, making social connections, or supporting from behind the scenes. Then, figure out how much time and/or money you can realistically give. Next, look at the various causes that are dear to your heart, and see if you feel called toward one or two in particular. Finally, think about your capacity for handling large crowds, administrative tasks, or work that’s emotionally taxing.
 Taking stock of all these factors will help you determine where you can do the most good, and, over time, you can make adjustments as needed.


2. Listen: There may be a lot you don’t know—about yourself, your community, the causes you support, and the work of activism. Fortunately, there’s never been a better time to learn about these. Even if you don’t have many local resources or a well-stocked public library nearby, the internet can go a long way.
The key, though, is to be curious and ready to learn. Seek out perspectives from people you admire, and ask questions. Try to connect with mentors or peers who can point you towards helpful books, articles, and podcasts. Contact the organizations you’d most love to work with, and when they tell you they need a particular kind of support, pay attention.


3. Listen Some More: While you’re working to educate yourself on these topics, keep your ears and heart open to criticism as well. Everyone messes up, in ways big and small, and activists are no exception.
When you make a mistake and someone points it out to you, try to remember that they are doing you a service: they’re engaging with you and taking time to help you improve when they could be doing literally anything else. Their words may initially feel harsh or insulting, but do what you can to listen with humility, and apologize where appropriate.
This attitude is especially important if your activism is aimed at assisting a group to which you don’t actually belong (e.g., if you’re a cis hetero person working in support of the LGBTQ community, a white person supporting communities of color, or a non-disabled person advocating for people with disabilities). In that case, your job is to be an ally, and it’s absolutely vital that you take their criticism seriously in order for you to improve.


4. Show Up: By definition, activism is active. It’s often easy for all people’s education and good intentions to remain theoretical. But, if you want to make a difference in this world, you’ll need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
What does it look like to take your activism into the real world? This might mean attending a protest or a march, contacting your local legislators, volunteering, or donating money. It might mean campaigning for a candidate you believe in or working with a Political Action Committee (or PAC). Equality Utah PAC, for example, has made great strides in helping elect fair-minded candidates around the state, and we’re always thrilled when new people get involved.
As you choose from these options (and many more), remember to take action in a way that makes sense for your situation, and try to respect fellow activists as they do the same.


5. Continue through Highs and Lows: Almost all activist movements will have moments of triumph and moments of defeat. Both have their place. The triumphs validate our efforts and give us energy to proceed; the defeats remind us to take a long view and to evaluate the work we’ve done. 
When you’re dealing with times that either bolster or challenge your hope in a brighter future, draw close to those you trust. Celebrate and mourn together. Remember what inspired you to be an activist in the first place. Then look to the future.
Equality Utah recognizes the unique challenges of this time in history, and at the same time, we’re moving forward. Our team is working with state legislators to prevent hate crimes and is also part of a task force to address teen suicide. And there’s always important work to be done.
Whatever setbacks or successes we may experience, our sights are fixed on creating a world where every person is able to pursue their greatest potential in a safe, inclusive community. If we hold on to this hope and our determination, there’s no telling what we can achieve together.

 

What questions do you have about activism? For those of you who have been involved for many years, what do you wish you’d known when you were just starting out? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter (@EqualityUtah) or Facebook (facebook.com/EqualityUtah).

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