by Drew Adams
The LGBTQ community has a lot of needs that aren’t being addressed by politicians or most public services. Because of this, a lot of LGBTQ organizations were started to fix this discrepancy and to help those who need it. Whether it’s helping LGBTQ students, working with politicians to fix laws, giving queer people resources, or educating others about queer issues, there’s an LGBTQ organization for everything we might need. Practically everyone has heard of groups like The Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and GLSEN, but there are so many more groups that deserve recognition. Here are 6 under-the-radar LGBTQ organizations.
Center Link — There’s an LGBTQ center in every single state in the United States, and in most major cities. Center Link is a group that connects all of these wonderful groups across the country and gives them resources and tools to better serve their communities. They also have an online GSA program called Q-Chat Space. Q-Chat Space is great for kids who don’t have access to a GSA in their school or am LGBTQ center in their community, or if they just want to meet more people like them. There are discussions every night about various topics, including, but not limited to, trans issues, sex ed, and coming out. Learn more at qchatspace.org!
The Trans Women of Color Collective — This organization is taking direct action to prevent the epidemic of murders of trans women of color. So far in 2019, 19 transgender women of color have been murdered, including one as young as 17. The Trans Women of Color Collective seeks to prevent these deaths and other acts of violence against trans women of color through initiatives aiming to provide services to trans youth of color, providing healthcare to disadvantaged communities, and education. Learn more at www.twocc.us!
Point of Pride — Point of Pride is an organization that provides services specifically to transgender people to help them live more authentically. They have a free binder program, where people send in new or gently used binders, and they get sent to people who need them. They have sent over 5,500 binders to trans people in need. They also have a yearly surgery fund that is awarded to trans people seeking gender affirming surgery. Their other programs include helping trans women get electrolysis and gender affirming feminine shapewear. Point of Pride has given over $130,000 in total financial aid since their start in 2017. Learn more at pointofpride.org!
Lambda Legal — Lambda Legal is a law firm that specializes in fighting for the rights of LGBTQ Americans and people living with HIV/AIDS. They take on huge amounts of work completely for free to help their clients fight discriminatory policies in schools, places of employment, housing, and government agencies. The value of this group cannot be understated, since fights like marriage equality was won through the courts, and there are so many fights still to go. Learn more at LambdaLegal.org!
The Dru Project — This is an organization that was started to honor Drew Leinonen, who was one of the Pulse Nightclub victims. A few of his friends banded together to create a legacy project so nobody would forget him. They give out scholarships to LGBTQ leaders (I was one of the recipients last year!) and help gay-straight alliances thrive in Florida and beyond. To date, they’ve given away over $50,000 in just 3 years! They’ve produced an incredibly comprehensive GSA guide that is available for anyone to download, too. Learn more at thedruproject.org!
Your local LGBTQ center — When I was first coming out, the LGBTQ center in Jacksonville, Florida, felt like a second home and a second family to me. My LGBTQ center, JASMYN, does it all. They have daily events for LGBTQ youth to socialize, eat a hot meal, and be themselves, they have a food and toiletry pantry, they have a full STI clinic and treatment on site every Thursday, and they give away more condoms than anyone I’ve ever seen. JASMYN has a huge presence in my hometown. I know not every city is lucky enough to have a place like JASMYN, but I bet a city close to you has something for LGBTQ people, even if it isn’t a full center. Google your city and LGBTQ center to find the closest LGBTQ center to you!
Every group that exists to help LGBTQ people thrive is incredible. The work we all do to push our movement forward together can never be halted because there are so many of us fighting from so many angles and for so many reasons. I encourage you to do your own research and find out what groups are active near you or on social media that fit what you are looking for, and get involved! Together, we can create the world we deserve.
About the Author:
Drew Adams is a transgender college freshman at the University of Central Florida who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. Nationally, Drew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Drew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.
Additionally, Drew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Drew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.