2012 — A Year to Get Involved

When I had the pleasure of talking to two gay friends last week, one said something that every organization probably looks forward to hearing: “How do I get involved and volunteer for an organization?” He told me that part of his reasoning was a recommendation from his therapist, but his intentions were truly heartfelt.
I gave him my ideas on various groups, and I have no doubt that he’ll volunteer, backing up his intentions with actions. I could tell he cared about the pulse of Kansas City’s LGBT community and had a lot to offer.
We have myriad social and political groups that can use your help. I’ve jokingly said before that we should have a “Gay Corps,” similar to the Peace Corps, where everyone volunteers at least one or two years of their lives. It’s not a bad thought. We have loyal people offering their services year after year, and eventually they can’t help but get burned out and need a break.
If you’re interested in local politics, Kansas City has strong groups like the Kansas Equality Coalition in Kansas, PROMO in Missouri and the Kansas City chapter of the Human Rights Campaign. We also have political groups like the Four Freedoms Democratic Club and KC Pride Democratic Club, and I hear that there might even be a local chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans. 2012 is an important election year, and you can be sure our political organizations will weigh in and vet the candidates.
But there are far too many groups serving the local LGBT community to mention them all in this column. Every year the Lesbian and Gay Community Center (LGCCKC.org) hosts a city-wide organizational meeting, where groups send representatives to speak about their organization and how you can get involved. We’ll keep you posted when the next meeting is scheduled, or you can check with LGCC.
My CampBiz column in Camp each month tells what groups like AIDSWalk, Pride, Missouri Gay Rodeo Association, LGCC, and more are doing. You’ll also read information about our welcoming congregations, such as Spirit of Hope MCC and others. Entertainment and theater are covered as well, such as Heartland Men’s Chorus, Mid America Freedom Band, Kansas City Women’s Chorus and more. The Heartland Men’s Chorus and their youth group, PerformOut KC, just had their auditions in January, but even if you can’t sing with them this year, they still need volunteers.
Some exciting news for 2012 is that the LIKE ME Lighthouse Organization, started by openly gay country singer and Kansas native Chely Wright, will officially open its new center at 39th and Main in February.
Even if you can’t physically volunteer, groups would welcome your financial contribution. For more information, check out the organizational listings at www.campkc.com, www.lgcckc.org, and www.lgbtguild.com.
It’s always refreshing to see that activism is not dead in Kansas City. Many in the LGBT community participated in the Occupy movements in 2011. And on Dec. 30, the local LGBT group EQUAL hosted a “Die-In” outside the Kansas City Convention Bureau during the International House of Prayer OneThing Conference. They were protesting Lou Engle and hateful legislation calling for death penalties of gay and lesbian Ugandans.
Camp has been publishing columns by the national LGBT-rights organization Lambda Legal. And locally, you can find a great LGBT resource through KC Legal (www.kclegal.net).
Lambda Legal has issued a report called “State of the Law 2011” that discusses important legislation for the LGBT community, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, New York marriage equality, challenges to DOMA and more.
It’s important to be vigilant and get involved in our community. You can download a copy of Lambda Legal’s report at lambdalegal.org/publications/state-of-the-law-2011.

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