The Movement Advancement Project is a think-tank that provides research, insight and analysis to speed up the achievement of LGBT equality. They work in collaboration with a number of organizations to compile guides for advocates, funders, policy makers and now, allies.
Their most recent project is An Ally’s Guide to Issues Facing LGBT Americans. The persistence of discriminatory laws can be traced to our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and politicians lack of understanding of the impact those laws have on people’s lives.
The section topics include employment, health, families including adoption and marriage, safety and serving in the military. The guide is very readable and does not patronize the potential ally.
While many people might have notions about marriage equality, far too many do not understand the reality that LGBT people face in their daily lives. In 29 states, you can be fired because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. There are no federal laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, credit or employment. Worse, in states that have passed definitions of marriage limited to one man and one woman, LGBT couples are not recognized and do not qualify for Family Medical Leave to make medical decisions to care for their sick or injured family members.
If a guide like this can keep a politician like Mitt Romney from remarking to a group of marriage equality advocates when he was Governor of Massachusetts: “I didn’t know you had families;” if it can keep voters from enshrining discrimination into their state laws and constitutions, then this guide will have done its job.