Equal Rights for All: Building Local LGBT Humanist Councils

Humanism is on the rise. More Americans are realizing they can be ‘good without god,’ and ‘coming out of the closet’ is easier than ever for freethinking Americans. Legal and political victories cementing the separation of church and state have been a boon for secular causes nationwide.

At the same time, LGBT rights have been at the forefront of public debate, often to the detriment of LGBT individuals at the hand of religious zealots. The recent string of tragic LGBT teen suicides has reminded Americans that coming out as LGBT is still not an easy thing to do, not least in the face of legal and social homophobia.

A truism for both humanist and LGBT individuals: it is not the right of one to take away the rights of another based solely on one’s religious or social traditions. LGBT rights are being attacked for these exact, selfish reasons. Therefore, humanists must stand with the LGBT community to demand full rights.

The American Humanist Association is embarking on an outreach project to increase the LGBT engagement of local AHA groups. By increasing your involvement in LGBT issues in your community and highlighting the links between humanism and LGBT individuals, your group can increase its total membership by bringing in new LGBT members.

Is involving your local humanist group more in LGBT advocacy something you might be interested in? Here are a few things to think about and remember as you discuss this project with your board and fellow members:

  • Conceptualize the potential involvement of your group in LGBT issues on a sliding scale. On the less involved end, your group could volunteer with a local LGBT non-profit, or have a booth at your local gay pride parade for your humanist group. On the more involved end, your local group could start an LGBT Humanist Council with monthly meetings and engage in local advocacy under the banner of this new LGBT sub group.
  • Consider co-hosting an introductory event with a local LGBT group. You could have a speaker on gay rights before the event to attract the interested public.
  • And, remember, you don’t need to do all this work alone! Find others in your community—LGBT LGBT and/or humanist—to  assist in brainstorming about the potential for this group and planning along the way.

The AHA is providing grants for advertising, renting space, and other expenses associated with hosting or co-hosting a seed event for local groups. If you are interested in starting an LGBT Humanist Council in your hometown, or simply expanding the LGBT work of your AHA group, you can contact me at 415-644-5234 or mfriendman@lgbthumanist.org. You will have my assistance at every step of the planning process.

And don’t forget to connect with our social networks. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LGBT Humanist Council and Twitter at www.twitter.com/LGBTHumanists.