Here’s a great article by Maia Spotts and the gang over at change.org:
Now that the Thanksgiving leftovers are running out, and you smartly avoided the Black Friday melee, you may be thinking about what to get the special folks in your life this holiday season. But, buyers beware! As Target taught us, scratching that consumer itch can sometimes have some pretty nasty consequences. Let your purchases count toward more than airline miles with this handy dandy super gay-friendly shopping guide. This is the year of supporting LGBT business owners. Because if you have to get that perfect tea set for Aunt Susan, or a great book for your nephew, or the coziest T-shirt for your best friend, why not have that money go into the hands of an LGBT business owner?
Your best bet for all things local and gay owned is The Pink Pages. Just click on your city and voila! Find a local gay florist for that perfect holiday wreath. Or a used book store for one-of-a-kind treasures. How about a gift certificate to that great gay-owned restaurant in town? You can also check out gayfriendlybiz.com for more local gay-owned businesses. If you need a little nudge in the idea department, try these on for size: How about a subscription to an LGBT rag for a year of delightful page turning? OUT, the Advocate, and Curve are some classic favorites. Out There is a new culture magazine for the International Gay that is glossy and artsy and delectable.
Want to introduce your little cousin to the idea that families come in all different shapes and sizes and genders? And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson is always a good go-to read. There are a few new great ones on the shelves you might also want to consider. Mommy, Mama, and Me, and Daddy, Papa, and Me by Lesléa Newman are great reads. Patricia Polacco's In Our Mothers' House is a lovely story about two moms and their three adopted kids.
Nothing says "I love you" like a big, warm hug. At the Free City SuperShop, hugs come in the form of supersoft t-shirts, sweatpants and hoodies. Gay-owned, hand-crafted in Los Angeles, this is the softest sweatshirt money can buy.
Did some say Gourmet Chocolate?! At gay-owned Cacao in Portland, OR, the staff will put together and ship to you a mind-blowing box of chocolate-y treats, the likes of which you have never tasted before. I speak from experience. It's not easy to part with, so be sure to gift this one to someone who'll share.
A Different Light bookstore is where to go for your favorite bibliophile. This gay-owned San Francisco landmark (with an online store) is one-stop shopping for everything from LGBT fiction, to history, to hard to find copies of DNA magazine.
The complete South of Nowhere DVD set (all three glorious seasons) should fit the bill with any teen drama lover in your life. It's got everything you want from a high school show: racial tension, a lesbian love affair, teen steroid abuse, a motorcycle crash and I won't give away what happens at the Prom. If you buy it on Amazon, be sure to use this link and 5% of your purchase will be donated to PFLAG.
Over at LoveandPride, you can pick up an Erase the Hate pendant, with 10% of the proceeds going to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. In fact, you can pick up an Erase the Hate T-Shirt, too.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is offering a super comfy T-Shirt with an awesome message: "Be Cool Be Kind Don't Judge." This is a gift that keeps on giving. Every time you step out the door, you remind folks about respectful living, plus 10% of the proceeds go to the Trevor Project.
Hmmm. PFLAG. The Matthew Shepard Foundation. The Trevor Project. Now we're talking true holiday giving. If I had to choose one aspect of the LGBT cause to support right now, it would be the crusade to end schoolyard bullying. We have lost too many young men and women, boys and girls, because no one at their school knew or cared enough to step in and stop anti-gay bullying. Gift giving is great, and the importance of supporting local businesses can never be overestimated. While you search for the perfect gifts this year, please consider including a donation in a loved one's name to a worthy charity. We will all benefit from it. Here's how you can help:
The Trevor Project is the best place to start. A nationwide suicide prevention project aimed specifically at LGBT youth, this organization has become the leader in the anti-bullying movement. By providing numerous options for a young person to reach out and speak to a kind, compassionate, loving individual, the folks at the Trevor Project have undoubtedly saved thousands of lives. Monetary donations help keep the phone lines open and the chat rooms online.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation with its Erase the Hate program is working to establish zero tolerance programs throughout the country.
The Ali Forney Center provides housing for homeless LGBT youth in and around New York City. A donation right now can provide a holiday meal or a gift for a resident. Just be sure to put "Holiday Gift" as your reason for donating.
True Colors, a "sexual minority youth and family services" project based in Connecticut, trains youth LGBTI advocates, organizes an annual national conference and runs an LGBTI mentoring program. While many of their services are aimed at Connecticut's youth, they are working nationally to help train other communities to enact the same powerful change.
Dan Savage's It Gets Better program has become an international phenomenon, and rightly so. Rumor has it there is a book in the works, and nationwide events and heaps more of the awesome viral videos that have impacted the nation. Donations go to It Gets Better, as well as Trevor Project and GLSEN. You can also pick up a T-shirt, if you're looking for something like that. While you're there, upload your own It Gets Better video and give the whole world a gift.
Consider donating a tool kit to your local school. Providing teachers and administrators with the tools to create a Hate Free zone, a zero tolerance policy, or a GSA can be invaluable to students. The Trevor Project Tool Kit is free! The GLSEN Safe Space Kit is only $20, and you can donate it to a school of your choosing, or GLSEN will choose one for you.
Help fund a Challenge Day. As seen on MTV's "If You Really Knew Me," a Challenge Day empowers students to "Be the Change," to share their own stories of struggle and to hear other's stories, a process which often leads to not only tolerance of differences but inclusion of those students once ostracized by their peers.
The holidays should be a time for being with loved ones. While so many in the LGBT community are lucky to have families who support us, or have created our own supportive communities, too many young LGBTQ kids struggle and suffer with fear of rejection, humiliation, exclusion and loneliness. After unwrapping your new copy of The Kids Are All Right or cracking the binding on David Sedaris' Holidays on Ice or packing up for a New Year's sail on Olivia Cruises, be grateful for those you have to support you, and let others know that you support them as well.
Happy Holidays from all of us on the Gay Rights team.