TW: mentions of death due to suicide and anti-LGBT violence.
This is a question I received a number of times during last year’s event – what exactly I am challenging people to do through the Week. I don’t feel I have been entirely clear on this and wanted to address it here; sometimes it’s easy to forget that those around me are hearing about this for the first time when I’ve been planning it out for months.
How to Take Action During the Week
The force that drives the Week of Action is the concept behind it: we are joining together to promote and create a better world for LGBT people, in honor of those who lived and died in a world that was not. These are the murder victims, these are the suicides, these are the people who are no longer with us because our world is not a safe place for LGBT people. We who take part in this movement are the people who are sick to death of such a world. We are the people who want that to change. That is our common goal: we want to help make things better for LGBT people of today and tomorrow, so stories like the ones of those remembered here cease to keep happening.
Is it an idealistic goal? Yes. Is it impossible? No. My challenge to everyone who takes part is to do one positive thing for the LGBT community, just one act that makes the world a little bit better for LGBT people. I intentionally left the “action, awareness, and activism” bit as vague as possible, because I want the Week of Action Movement to be what people make of it, an event that is open-ended enough that they can make it theirs. I don’t have specific things I am asking people to do for the Week. Whatever you feel compelled to do, whatever you feel would make a positive impact – this is your opportunity to do it. It can affect a whole community or it can affect just a single person. It can be something large and world-changing or it can be something small and simple. Give it some thought – what does it mean to you when I say, “do something positive for the LGBT community”? There is no one way to take action and there are no wrong ways to do it.
Perhaps make a point to talk about LGBT issues this week. Perhaps fight to change legislation or fight to remove anti-LGBT laws in place. Perhaps reach out and let someone know, “You are not alone, and I am supportive”, or say something next time you hear someone make a cissexist or heterosexist comment. That challenge is whatever you take it to mean, whatever action means something to you. I am choosing to speak out in a way people cannot ignore – there are 105 names, 105 people with 105 stories, displayed visibly; at last year’s event I had dozens of people inquire as to why they were there. When I tell them these are all people who have either been killed or killed themselves for no other reason than being LGBT, they react. They’re forced to. That’s what I have chosen to do for the Week – get people to react so they become interested in the goal, feel they should do something for the LGBT community as well. The goal of a better world for LGBT people is what unites us during the Week – what exactly you choose to do is entirely up to you.