The annual arrival of Giving Tuesday is a welcome time of year for non-profits that rely on donations and other acts of giving to drive their charitable missions. Financial donations and volunteer efforts tend to pick up around the holidays, and that includes LGBTQ-focused charities and advocacy organizations right here in Michigan.
The state has emerged as something of a haven within a country where thousands of LGBTQ+ people are at risk of losing various protections, rights and reliable access to critical medical care. It may seem as though the work in Michigan is done, but as any local LGBTQ+ advocate will tell you, that’s just not the case. Even in Michigan, young queer people are kicked out of their homes by non-supportive family members, Black trans women are disproportionately impacted by violence and lack of access to basic services and steady income, and many LGBTQ+ folks benefit from a wide array of community support initiatives including legal help, resources for older community members, support groups, addiction resources and more.
When you reach out to a local queer advocacy organization to offer your time or resources, you’re helping not only the local community but chipping away at the national, coordinated effort aimed at queer and trans erasure. Here are the leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations providing outreach and advocacy in the Southeast Michigan area:
- Equality Michigan
- Fair Michigan
- Jim Toy Community Center
- LGBT Detroit
- MiGen (formerly SAGE Metro Detroit)
- Ruth Ellis Center
- Spectrum Center
- Stand with Trans
- Transgender Michigan
- Unity Fund
Don’t forget to support your local LGBTQ-affirming library or a local high school GSA, too!
Another way to support local non-profits benefiting the queer community is donating to or attending events produced by arts organizations, including:
- Express Your Yes Foundation
- OutLoud Chorus
- Planet Ant Theatre
- PRISM Men’s Chorus
- The Ringwald Theatre
You Don’t Have to Open Your Wallet to Give
One of the most direct ways to help in the community this holiday season is by simply jumping in where you’re needed. For example, you could organize a meal train for people in your queer community who have mobility or access issues (or who could just use a reminder that their chosen family cares about them).
There’s also a great deal of value in the smallest acts of kindness:
- Help someone who seems lost in your regular grocery store or walking in the neighborhood.
- Give a sincere compliment to a kind service worker or friendly fellow customer.
- Be vocally supportive of the LGBTQ+ kids in your life. 2023 has been extra rough for our young friends.
- Send that text you’ve been meaning to send to someone you care about.
- Reach out to your online neighborhood group to offer help with outdoor chores or pet care during the holidays (or just to express your appreciation for good neighbors).
- Listen more. Pay attention when someone in your circle “jokes” about being lonely or out of sorts and figure out a way to be in their life more.
No doubt you’re already a thoughtful community member. Still, think of the holiday season as an opportunity to be even more intentional about how you treat other people. Your kindness has the potential to be more impactful than you might realize, especially during a time of year that doesn’t always land gently for everyone.