5 Ways to Weave Advocacy Into Everyday Life
If you’re anything like me, your biggest barrier to advocacy isn’t a lack of interest; rather, deciding where to start can be daunting. Luckily, I found my dream opportunity to volunteer with the Human Rights Campaign this year. Even if you don’t have time to take on a new position, this experience has taught me (and hopefully, will inspire you to try...) many ways to weave advocacy into daily life, too.
1. Lobby for legislation you believe in
When opportunity arises, voice your values. If you can spare an hour or two, phone banking empowers you to reach other voters (or representatives themselves!) If you only have a couple seconds to spare, leaving messages for your reps can amplify the voices of others who do the same. Finally, though it sounds ambitious, directly lobbying your reps is more accessible than you might think! HRC hosts several lobby days each year that connect constituents with their reps for brief meetings. Taking these chances to share your story helps our reps understand how legislation impacts our community, and your passion can get them fired up behind your priorities, too.
2. At the local level, keep your community informed
More than anyone else, you are aware of what attitudes, opportunities, and issues exist within your community. Whether at a town hall, during a school board meeting, or even in an online group, take chances to advocate for inclusion (like in school curricula, for instance). Rather than ignoring it, thoughtfully responding to misinformation is another way to shape your community’s perspective. Wondering what good that does? A recent study saw a 38% to 73% jump in support for trans kids’ inclusion in sports once respondents were given more info on the topic. Sharing content like infographics from HRC’s Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook can make this task a little easier!
3. Use inclusive language at work or school
Gender-neutral terms like “folks” and “partner” are more accurate and welcoming to all. Also, adding pronouns in your introductions, email signatures, Zoom username, etc. helps to remind that pronoun preference is not a given, nor something we should assume for others. For more info on inclusive language, here’s a quick guide and list of examples.
4. Listen, learn, and continue to do so about these issues
Especially if you’re a student, take advantage of opportunities for open-ended research. Many of my college classes ended, for instance, in final projects about topics of my choosing. Taking time to study others’ perspectives on and experiences around sex, gender, etc. can expand your awareness of what to include in your advocacy. Across the board—from issues of race to class to gender—it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves about the past & present injustices that merit our advocacy today. HRC publishes on a range of LGBTQ issues, and for anti-racism resources, check out lists like this one from the B Lab.
5. Use your power as a constituent and a consumer
Vote, vote, vote! While lower-profile elections are easy to miss, those like city council races can truly shape how your community responds to challenges (like budget cuts and allocations). Click here to find your local election website, here to request election alerts, and here to check whether your current reps support LGBTQ equality!
Similarly, while spending habits seem mundane, saving up a little extra to donate can help mutual aid funds uplift people in need, and donations power the nonprofits that progress your values. In day-to-day purchases, too, try to support companies that reflect your values. HRC is building a new buying guide, but in the meantime, check out our Corporate Equality Index of LGBTQ-inclusive companies!
About the Author
The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of Hannah Lynch — a Massachusetts-born writer and activist. Hannah recently graduated from Georgetown University where she studied psychology and discovered her passion for politics. She aims to combine these interests by exploring what influences voters, along with what enables change at the policy level.