All in the Family

6 Feb

I started thinking yesterday when a friend of mine made a casual reference to”putting his gay hours in” for the community. His comment brought to mind a conversation I’d once had with another friend, a pastor at a small evangelical church where, although anyone can attend worship, becoming a member is a fairly lengthy process. He and the church’s other ministers watch to see whether would-be members participate in Bible studies, volunteer at church charities, and spend time with the church’s youth group before inviting them to join. When I asked him why, he explained

Our church isn’t a club, it’s a family. And in your family, you do your part. You do dishes, you visit your grandmother. You help your sister with her homework and you take your little brother to football practice. Families only work if everyone helps out–sometimes out of the goodness of their hearts, sometimes just because you have to, but mostly out of love.

I’d argue that this is also very true about our community, dear queers. We rely on each other, and I’m proud to be a witness to and a member of a community that runs on mutual respect and appreciation in place of transactional relationships. In my experience, queers give back less out of obligation than from a sense of responsibility that grows out of gratitude. I, for one, will never know how to give enough back to the community

In the same way that my family has always been my final, ultimate source of unconditional love and acceptance, we are each other’s bottom line. And that’s a big responsibility. How do you go about being a good, filial gay? If you’re in the NYC area and looking for ways to give back, please check out

Queers for Economic Justice

Gay Men’s Health Crisis

The Ali Forney Center: Housing for Homeless LGBT Youth

Rivington House

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

Housing Works

AVP: The Anti-Violence Project

You cannot choose to be gay any more than you can choose your family, but I’d choose you all twice if I could. More later, love always,



2 Responses to “All in the Family”

  1. Mel King February 8, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Also check out:

    Jews For Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) –

    Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) –

  2. BLoGT- NYU'S Queer Blog February 8, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    Thanks, Mel! We’ve added both to the new “Less Talk, More Action” page.

    Thanks for reading :)

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