STEP 3a. HELP OUT COMMUNITY GROUPS|
Help out community groups. There are Gay Community Centers, including GLBT Youth Groups, that are always looking for support. Visit the Gay Community Centers site as a starting point for locating groups. Gay Community Centers can take many forms, from very formal to informal; all are continuously growing.
Other groups to get involved in include Pride Groups and Culture Groups. Students can also join a college or high school Gay Straight Alliance.
STEP 3b. ORGANIZE A COMMUNITY GROUP
If you do not find a group in your area, start one. You can do it. Others in your area would no doubt like to have a group, too. Find existing groups in areas similar to yours and see what approach they are taking. Contact them if you have questions; they can be wonderful resources for helping others get their own group launched in another region.
Start with reasonable expectations and goals for growth. For example, start with a basic web page and mailing list using a free service such as yahoo groups, or create a MySpace.com page for your group and invite other myspace users in your area to sign-up as friends so you can post announcements to keep them updated about news in your area that impacts them and get important feedback from them. Facebook.com is another tool for organizing your group. Consider having a presence on both myspace.com and facebook.com to maximize your outreach. You can cross-link between both and publicize both. Blogspot.com and Wordpress.com are also useful tools for organizing and keeping people informed. When you can, create your own website with your own domain name (in case social networks, which are companies, go under or implement rules that prevent you from organizing the way you want).
Your group can grow to have events, like a monthly get-together or a townhall forum for members to share and discuss your collective vision for the group. Local public libraries, friendly churches and synogagues, general community centers, and your favorite restaurants can all provide a place to meet with members of all ages and backgrounds.
Gather information about resources in your area you think would be helpful to your members, for example, contact state groups to find out what are the laws in your area that impact GLBT people and allies (never leave out allies; they are friends, parents, kids, siblings, and will always outnumber GLBT people). Keep your members educated and informed; never assume people know what their rights are, or what the latest news is.
Find out what your members consider to be their priorities for your community center group. Perhaps your group will have two branches - one for political action, the other for educational and social support. The political branch can be as simple as people - gay or straight - willing to write to elected officials whenever your state group needs them to do so. Hearing from local residents has a far greater impact on politicians than hearing from out-of-area voices. Aim to get 25 (or more) participants in your area as part of your political branch and you will be doing wonderfully.
Is your town small? Then consider organizing your group at the county level, or include some nearby towns and make your group cover part of your county (the east part of the county, the north part of the county, a valley or other region, etc.). Make certain your group name reflects the region it covers so people in your area can immediate recognize that the group applies to them and that they can become members.
Remember, organizing at the local level is extremely important, gives you and others in your area something immediate and meaningful to do, and empowers the entire country. Set aside any ego or expectations (your reward is seeing your group prosper and grow) and design your group to welcome, include and serve as many equality people in your area as possible.
STEP 4: Understand Democracy and Human Rights
STEP 5: Assess Participation
STEP 6: Hold Top Human Rights Violators Accountable
STEP 1: State Groups
STEP 2: Topic Groups