I remember that October day so clearly. It was 1987, the day of the second great LGBTQ march on Washington - and the first time I'd found myself with so many others like me.
Seas of ... us.
A quarter century later, the internet has birthed ways of coming together that none of us dreamed of then. Millions of us. Coming together on-line, of course, isn't the same as being in one place at one time. But the potential is huge.
A new way to give
Now there's something brand new - and incredibly exciting - that can bring millions of LGBTQ people together around one of the most important things any of us - or any ally - can do. It's called Give OUT Day and it's coming on May 9, 2013.
Give OUT Day is this brilliant idea to have a single day on which LGBT people coast to coast donate to LGBT nonprofit organizations that help, serve, and save hundreds of thousands of LGBT people - every day. Without these groups, the LGBT movement would be pretty much nowhere. Without them, LGBT communities from California to Maine to Louisiana would be unrecognizable. So would many of our own lives.
Conceived by Bolder Giving, a philanthropic organization based in New York, Give OUT Day offers everyone a chance to give, whether it's $5.00 or $50,000. It's all at the Give OUT Day website, where anyone can scroll through the more than 400 LGBT nonprofits across the country that have signed up, or search by an issue or geographic region.
But why now?
But aren't we already riding a triumphal wave, what with marriage in 10 states, a (male) pro basketball player coming out, a president on our side? Yes - and may this wave only accelerate! - but we're still a long way from the shore of the promised land. In 29 states, we can still be fired for being LGBTQ. Queer kids still cope with isolation and abuse. LGBTQ parents still lose their children.
The list could go on and on. But whether we're talking about equal rights, or our youth, our elders, our families, people with HIV or mental health issues, it's LGBTQ nonprofit organizations that are there to help and advocate for us.
And they need money to do it, which is why Give OUT Day is so important.
Give OUT Day
Give OUT Day's important for another reason, for it highlights the fact that giving is more than just a transaction between parties, or between a donor and an organization. It's about building connections and communities - our communities. Everyone who gives on Give OUT Day will do more than just help out an organization and the flesh-and-blood people it serves. Those gifts will also make us stronger.
Imagine millions of us, together. Imagine what we can do.
Roger Doughty is executive director of Horizons Foundation, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that helps fuel the LGBT movement. Horizons is a sponsor of Give OUT Day, bringing together more than 50 Bay Area LGBTQ non-profits to participate on May 9th Give OUT Day.