There's no doubt that the UK - and much of the developed world - has become a better place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people over the last few decades. But sadly, even here at home, anti-LGBT abuse is still far too common. That's why there's still a lot of work to be done when it comes to supporting the LGBT community, updating attitudes and even changing laws.
Why Volunteer With An LGBT Charity?
While some countries are becoming more accepting with every passing year, that's unfortunately not yet the case with others. For example, same-sex marriage is still not legal in Northern Ireland. Even worse, there are 72 countries around the world that criminalise same-sex relationships. Shockingly, the death penalty exists as punishment for homosexuality in a handful of these.
LGBT charities do so much great work to try and push for change both in the UK and abroad. Whether organisations are putting on festivals and parades, fighting discrimination or lobbying governments, volunteering is one of the best ways you can help them. Whether you identify as LGBT or not, they'll be delighted to have your help. You may find you have a great time doing so, while picking up valuable skills in the process.
How To Help LGBT Charities
BECOME AN EVENT VOLUNTEER
From Manchester Pride to IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) and World AIDS Day, volunteering at an LGBT-focused event can be a huge help without making a big demand on your schedule. Roles can include things like stewarding, photography or taking part in parades. If you're immersed in an event like Manchester's Sparkle Weekend, you're likely to have a fun-filled experience too, and make lots of new friends.
BECOME A HELPLINE VOLUNTEER
Helplines and email support teams are vitally important to LGBT charities. As well as providing advice and support, they also provide information on things like legal rights and health issues. You'll get all the training you need to flourish in a role like this.
HELP ORGANISE A SUPPORT GROUP
Social and support groups where LGBT people can meet, talk and share can also be hugely beneficial. They provide safe spaces where people can interact positively with other members of the group. Different groups have different aims, and you can help by planning or facilitating sessions. This could be a great idea if you're compassionate and would enjoy helping people fight isolation and build social networks.
HELP OUT AT THE OFFICE
It takes a big effort to keep large charities such as LGBT Foundation running. They always need people who can commit to long-term volunteering roles in their offices, which are perfect if you're looking to dedicate time to a good cause. Office-based roles are great if you already have useful admin skills, as you will be supporting people who use the services of LGBT charities as well as the staff.
BE AN ANGEL
LGBT-focused areas such as Manchester's historic Gay Village have some wonderful initiatives to keep them safe, clean and welcoming for everyone. The Village Angels programme places volunteers on the streets where they champion safety in a positive, supportive way. Angels also play a key role at events like Manchester Pride and Sparkle
Things To Know Before You Volunteer
- No matter how much time you can spare, there'll be a role you can get involved with - whether you're looking to volunteer regularly and frequently, or on a casual basis.
- Some volunteering roles require training, so you may need to make a minimum time commitment of at least three months. This would be the case for things like providing helpline support.
Where To Get Started
You may have a specific LGBT charity in mind that you wish to help, but other human rights organisations also do great work to support LGBT issues. These include:
You can also do your part by signing up to play People's Postcode Lottery. To date, our players have raised over £5 Million for these two charities alone.