Advocacy, along with education and support, is one of the three tenants of PFLAG’s mission and a powerful tool for achieving LGBTQ equality, both in our own local communities, cities, and states and at the federal level. As PFLAG advocates, we follow these guidelines:
- We build bridges. We strive to engage and persuade people who are undecided about or against LGBTQ equality. Our efforts can unify and rally the LGBTQ community and its allies, but when we move beyond our own circle, we see real change happen.
- We focus on substance and success. We identify and implement our most effective advocacy methods, which often requires letting go of some assumptions, being flexible, and listening more to others.
- We stay true to our PFLAG values. PFLAG is love, hope, and understanding. To this end, we promote respectful dialogue, tell our stories to open hearts and minds, model LGBTQ equality through the dignity of our words and actions.
A key to successful advocacy is to take on “doable things”, Dan Savage‘s term for actions that are both manageable and achievable. We start by identifying the forms of advocacy most suited to our skills, interests, and schedules.
- Advocacy can be contained but highly effective actions, such as contacting elected officials, writing letters to editors, phone banking, marching in LGBTQ-focused parades and protests, speaking at events, attending hearings, and participating in lobby days.
- Advocacy can be an ongoing role, where we gain expertise and focus on long-term goals: for example, we might volunteer for key responsibilities with our chapter or consider a leadership position.
- Advocacy can be integrated into our daily lives through modeling and expressing our belief in LGBTQ equality. Visibility and speaking out in the moment are potent forms of advocacy.
- Advocacy can be supporting and aligning with other organizations that, like PFLAG, work for equality, by becoming a member and/or participating in mutual and joint events.
- Advocacy can require education to stay on top of multiple issues and disseminate accurate information about complex policies and law. To this end, we consult with field experts and experienced members and typically devote the second half of our monthly meeting to a guest speaker/panel who can speak to issues facing our community.
If you have not advocated for PFLAG before or want to learn more, consult PFLAG National’s Advocacy 101, which includes:
- One Voice Can Change The World: The PFLAG National Policy Guide and Advocacy Toolkit
- Make It Count: The PFLAG National Get Out the Vote Pocket Guide
- Stay Informed, a form to receive the PFLAG National newsletter