Category Archives: LGBT Communications

Put down the pom poms: Not that #SpiritDay

Courtesy of seaofwaves.tumblr.com

Today is #SpiritDay.  I always remembered spirit day as a forced event, where I wore school colors and pretend I cared about winning a football game.

Today is different. Today, I actually do care. Today’s #spiritday is a day for us to take a moment and remember the lives that were lost because of LGBT bulling. Looking at the online conversations over the past 24 hours, it’s incredible to see the response.  1.6 million people joined the Facebook event, 214 articles written, celebrities urged for fan participation, and people all over changed their Facebook profiles and Twitter avatars purple. Even Tumblr changed their background to purple. It’s an important step toward awareness.

I admit, all of the coverage, attention and comradery does make me feel extremely proud. It makes me smile to know that we have a strong community of LGBTQ and allies. But with all this spirit, it’s still not enough.

Just hours ago, a young gay man took his life. AfterEllen reported that lesbians were kicked out of a Baltimore Ravens game and a Raleigh, North Carolina shopping mall. Seriously? Do you not realize (a) the power of the pink dollar, (b) that sporting events are the gathering places of gay ladies, and most importantly, (c) the basics of equal rights is that regardless of race, religion, gender, age, class, and sexual orientation – love is love?

Although I don’t fit into the “sporting” component of our community’s stereotype, I do enjoy retail therapy and demand equal rights. It boggles my mind that people feel they have the right to condemn others, and that this self-righteousness entitles them pure hate. Does it make sense to you?

The reality is – we live in a world where lives are lost senselessly and discrimination runs rampant. When people say to me, “Well, why do you care so much? It’s just a political agenda.” I can’t help but respond, “Well, what do you care about? And who do you have in your life who’s worth living for? To me, it’s not politics. It’s my friends and family.”

I hope you took part in #spiritday today. But more than anything, that you’ll help give hope to teens across the globe each and every day. Tell them, “We love you for being you. The whole you.”

Will LGBT Losses Lead to Social Action?

For many of us, we’ve been waiting for the day that something, somewhere will change. However, we’ve been let down more times than we’ve rejoiced.

This weekend, I went to see the Secretariat (ps it was good), and as we’re sitting in the theater the first preview (The Dilemma) opens up with this line, “Smart cars are gay … like your parents chaperoning your dance…” My first thought was “That’s appalling,” followed by, “wait a second, this is a family movie and this theatre is filled with children.” My next thought was, “Are you kidding me!?! When was it okay to put this type of hateful language in a family-oriented movie? Kids are laughing because they now think it’s okay, since everything Vince Vaughn says and does is acceptable!” followed by lots of curse words.

In light of the four suicides and New York hate crimes, and then this preview, should cause some sort of uproar. So I can’t help but ask myself, will these senseless deaths bring collective social action?

I’ve seen videos for “It Gets Better,” a confrontational interview by Anderson Cooper, and more participation in NoH8. In September, I shared an article by Malcom Gladwell about how social media will not be the catalyst for social action. To be honest, I may or may not agree with this when it comes to support for a segmented group, the LGBT community. Together, local grassroots movements accompanied by online tactics, will help reach more people – to spread the message that enough is enough.

Photograph of last night's "die-in" at Grand Central Terminal by Gay City News

 

Last Friday, 400 gay rights activists hosted a flash mob against homophobia in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Rallies were hosted across the nation (in San Francisco, Chicago and Fresno to name a few). However, it’s more than these events that will lead us to change. We need a recipe that includes political support and action, general education and awareness, allies across all political parties, and platform that will be difficult to turn away from – the premise that “everyone is created equal.” Maybe this time we’ll do more than talk.

By the way, the gay slur was removed from “The Dilemma” after pressure from GLAAD.

Social Media for Social Good

Yesterday, Susan Smith Ellis, CEO of (RED), shared her thoughts on how social media can dramatically impact cause-related efforts. RED has gained support from celebrities, companies and retailers and yes – us, the general public. On Sept. 23, they are launching “Social Good Day,” in collaboration with Mashable. The premise is that social media can make the world a better place.  At first, I immediately jumped up saying, “YES, it does!” But the reality is that social media isn’t what makes social good possible, rather, it’s just another channel to allow people to donate, volunteer and spread awareness. Social good requires ground level action first and foremost. The key is getting people there.

Social media does, however, allow anyone and everyone to show their support for a number of causes. One increasingly popular means for cause-related support is celebrity endorsements.  From Ashton Kutcher to P!nk to Justin Bieber, celebrities who push issues they believe in – enlisting fans to take action. Through celeb support and their tweets and Facebook posts, more people are aware of issues that need our support, celebs aside.  The key again is to take action, not just awareness.

For someone who uses her star power for good, let’s look at Lady Gaga’s message to the Senate to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

The video has gained nearly 1 million views in a matter of 2 days. Since Gaga has entered the world (yes, I said world), she has urged her fans and non-fans to do something. At last week’s VMA’s, Gaga shared her support for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). Within 72 hours of her announcement, SLDN has more than 107K visitors, 93% of which were new visitors (via Politics Daily). Gaga also posted messages on Facebook and Twitter, revamped her site and urged Ellen viewers to call their senator. The call to action is timely, since the vote is this coming Tuesday. I’m interested to see how many people actually called their senator. Or if the number would have increased if the call to action was to sign an online petition.

The keys to leveraging social media for causes and non-profits are collaboration and action. Despite a newer platform, our purpose and goals should not change. Twitter, Facebook and online videos are just other ways to raise awareness to raise funds and volunteers. We still need grassroots advocacy and strategic partnerships (online and offline). So yes, I do believe that social media can lead to social good, but it’s only because it is rooted in “social.” And to me, social equates to people and a community that must first believe in doing that good.

What are your thoughts on social media for social good?

The Beginning

j0442207.jpgToday marks the beginning of a new day or rather a revisit of an old one for me. Before this blog, I was a regular voice for the Out Front Blog with a group of incredibly smart individuals in the world of gay and lesbian communications. Today and for an indefinite amount of time, I hope to provide you all with my look at communications, my life and my hopes.

Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to grow my skills and passion in social media. When I first began my career in public relations, I fell in love with corporate communications and internal communications. With the emergence of social media, I began to see how this new medium can affect how we communicate, work and live. This blog will be an outlet of my viewpoints, and mine alone. If you disagree – tell me! I hope that you’ll ask questions and share your thoughts and views on this blog as well. No point in talking to myself. 🙂

More to come soon.

Give Thanks: LGBT Communications

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It’s the Monday before a brief Thanksgiving break. Your dreams are taking you to a place of turkey, pumpkin pie and shopping heaven. It’s lovely there isn’t it? You’re reminded of family gatherings and that indescribable warmth of being home. For some of us in the LGBT community, this holiday season brings heartfelt and heartbreaking stories.

In preparation for holiday fun, I got to thinking about the things I’m grateful for. Here are a few (in the world of LGBT communications, in no particular order):

  1. Washington Blade – After 40 years of delivering LGBT news, the Washington Blade shut its doors after its parent company, Window Media, filed for bankruptcy. Thank you to the Blade for sharing LGBT news when others didn’t. Emerging at a time when the majority of the LGBT community was still in the closet, the Blade provided us with an outlet, a unified message to stand behind. It armed us for action and gave us a voice. The Blade’s editor, Kevin Naff, intends to launch a new LGBT publication. We look forward to seeing the new paper Kevin! For more on The Blade check out Michael’s post from last week.
  2. Young advocates – Fifth grader, Will Phillips and 17-year-old, James Neiley. Will Philips recently received much attention after he refused to say the pledge of allegiance to a country that discriminates against the LGBT community. James Neiley, a volunteer for Outright Vermont gave a moving and heartfelt speech to the Vermont Senate during the equal marriage rights debate. Cultivating young advocates is essential to the battle for equal rights. They provide a unique perspective and an unmatched passion for change. Young advocates fuel our progress. For a more intriguing list of the top 100 honorees by Out, go here.
  3. And finally, Lady Gaga. Though many people may call her odd, I do appreciate Lady Gaga and all that she brings to the music industry and to pop culture. Lady Gaga takes any opportunity to be vocal about homophobia and fight for equal rights. She thanked God and the gays in her MTV VMA award win, performed at Pride Festivals and the HRC gala, and walked with us at the National Equality March in October. Ra-ra Ga-Ga!

So tell us, what are a few things that you’re grateful for this year?

J0422463 It’s the Monday before a brief Thanksgiving break. Your dreams are taking you to a place of turkey, pumpkin pie and shopping heaven. It’s lovely there isn’t it? You’re reminded of family gatherings and that indescribable warmth of being home. For some of us in the LGBT community, this holiday season brings heartfelt and heartbreaking stories.

In preparation for holiday fun, I got to thinking about the things I’m grateful for. Here are a few (in the world of LGBT communications, in no particular order):

  1. Washington Blade – After 40 years of delivering LGBT news, the Washington Blade shut its doors after its parent company, Window Media, filed for bankruptcy. Thank you to the Blade for sharing LGBT news when others didn’t. Emerging at a time when the majority of the LGBT community was still in the closet, the Blade provided us with an outlet, a unified message to stand behind. It armed us for action and gave us a voice. The Blade’s editor, Kevin Naff, intends to launch a new LGBT publication. We look forward to seeing the new paper Kevin! For more on The Blade check out Michael’s post from last week.
  2. Young advocates – Fifth grader, Will Phillips and 17-year-old, James Neiley. Will Philips recently received much attention after he refused to say the pledge of allegiance to a country that discriminates against the LGBT community. James Neiley, a volunteer for Outright Vermont gave a moving and heartfelt speech to the Vermont Senate during the equal marriage rights debate. Cultivating young advocates is essential to the battle for equal rights. They provide a unique perspective and an unmatched passion for change. Young advocates fuel our progress. For a more intriguing list of the top 100 honorees by Out, go here.
  3. And finally, Lady Gaga. Though many people may call her odd, I do appreciate Lady Gaga and all that she brings to the music industry and to pop culture. Lady Gaga takes any opportunity to be vocal about homophobia and fight for equal rights. She thanked God and the gays in her MTV VMA award win, performed at Pride Festivals and the HRC gala, and walked with us at the National Equality March in October. Ra-ra Ga-Ga!

So tell us, what are a few things that you’re grateful for this year?

Posted on: Nov 23, 2009