Thanksgiving is a special time of the year when most people gather with friends and family to celebrate their connection to one another and to give thanks for their many blessings. For some LGBT members it can be a very lonely and even depressing time.
As a gay man and an LGBT advocate I would urge my fellow straight allies to take a moment this week and do two things. First, seek out an LGBT individual and let them know you care. For an individual who has been shunned by their family or ridiculed by others for their sexuality the holidays can be anything but festive. Be a voice of acceptance and listen to their story.
It is regrettable that thousands of LGBT teens are forced to leave home or runaway when they come out. For them, this Thanksgiving won’t be filled with laughter, turkey and football, but will be a struggle to survive on the unforgiving streets of our Cities and towns.
Many more LGBT adults come out only to encounter constant tension and anxiety by loved ones who consistently belittle or degrade them. They sit at the Thanksgiving table but would much rather be under it. It is no fun to share this special holiday only to be on the receiving end of whispers, stares and snickers from those you love and those you thought loved you.
The second thing I will ask you to do is seek a way to make a difference. Although we have come a long way in our quest for equality there are still many who are bullied to death or shamed into a life of isolation. Donate some time working with LGBT youth. Let them see that there is a future for them and there are people who will be right there with them fighting for justice and equality for all.
If that is not your cup of tea then contact your local PFLAG, LGBT Democrats group or equality seeking organization and give them a donation. Your gift of a couple dollars will go a long way in helping those who are on the outside looking in this holiday season. It might just help save a life.
As we gather with our friends and family members this week, please say a special prayer or whisper a word of support for your gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered family members, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens. Thanksgiving should be about sharing love and acceptance with all people. So my friends….. Pass the turkey and remember to be thankful for all your blessings, because not everyone is as fortunate as you and I.