Get EQUAL's mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way.
We envision a society in which LGBTQ people experience equal protection under the law, and are free from cultural and social transphobia/homophobia, without caveat or compromise. To that end, GetEQUAL will inspire and equip the LGBTQ community and allies to fight back against discrimination in a way that builds power and personal agency, encourage LGBTQ people to take our place to push forward progressive change as equals, and to build bridges with all who struggle for justice and dignity in their lives.
THEORY OF CHANGE
GetEQUAL will work toward this mission and vision by:Building and authentically engaging a movement of people poised to take action, both online and offline, to create and sustain a critical mass demanding full equalityOrganizing direct actions that lead to moments of crisis in existing power structures – moments that result in more power for our allies in the movement and the political will for elected officials to resolve that conflictIlluminating and grounding our organizing work in the lived experience of discrimination and multiple oppressionsCreating meaningful avenues for straight allies in our organizing workRefusing to count as friends those who stand in the way of equality — regardless of party affiliation or individual/organizational agendasChallenging false frameworks that claim legal and social equality for LGBT Americans has already arrivedEngaging in relational organizing – meaning that we will strive to create deep and authentic relationships with supporters as often as possible, and that we will provide clear ways for supporters to take action with meaningful resultsThis work will involve many different avenues for supporters to take action individually, including both online and offline mechanisms within the context of sustained campaigns. Some of the mechanisms we intend to make use of in this work are:Online calls to action via email and social networksDirect actions that strategically target those with decision-making powerTownhall meetings in local communitiesTraining sessions on the history, strategy, and tactics of direct actionCentralized online organizing hubOnline toolkit to support local organizers’ work in their own communitiesProfessional consulting and advice on direct action campaign planningCoordinated, distributed actions.
The LGBTQ movement stands at a turning point. In the 40 years since the Stonewall Riots, our lives have changed immeasurably. We have Gay-Straight Alliances in schools across the country, out characters in movies and on television, affirming communities of faith, and openly gay public officials. But in 2010, we are still unequal as working people, as members of the military, as families, as immigrants, as students, as taxpayers, and as citizens.
All across the country, LGBTQ people are regularly the victims of hate crimes and discrimination on the job. More than 30 states have banned same-sex marriage, including two states (California and Maine) that had previously affirmed marriage rights. Several states have banned us from adopting children, and in the majority of states it remains legal to fire people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Perhaps most discouraging, we have seen little movement on our federal legislative priorities. Though “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been swept into the dustbins of history, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been mired in delays for decades, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) still codifies discrimination as the law of the land, and other legislation that would provide equal protection in immigration law, schools, housing, credit, and many other aspects of American life. All the while, supposedly progressive leaders openly refuse to prioritize our civil rights, and many of our own leaders (out elected officials and directors of long-standing LGBTQ advocacy organizations) have become mouthpieces of the status quo – urging us to continue waiting patiently for equality.In light of this discouraging state of affairs, hundreds of thousands of Americans – LGBTQ and straight – are demanding a new direction for our movement. In October of 2009, more than 150,000 people marched on Washington to demand full federal equality. Activists young and old returned to their communities inspired, and people everywhere are still pushing for change at home.We believe this momentum can fundamentally change the current political dynamic, restricting support for those who stand in the way of full equality, and emboldening those who want to do the right thing. No longer can we settle for empty promises while our youth commit suicide, our rights are stripped away at the ballot box, and we are treated as second-class citizens. The time has come to say unequivocally that we are more than a political movement – we are a civil rights movement.
GetEQUAL exists to serve and grow this constituency of everyday Americans – LGBTQ and straight – who are willing and ready to demand equality. We are committed to working with everyone, no matter the sex, gender, race, class, look, age, ability, religion, family status, and citizenship to build a society in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are equal.