Whether it’s healthcare, mental health services, general wellness, social activities, places of worship, sports, etc. – helping to make sure that LGBTQ+ members of our community have safe and/or comfortable place to go is essential in creating better communities for everyone.
According to GLAAD, allies are some of the most effective and powerful voices of the LGBT movement. Not only do allies help people in the coming-out process, they also help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance and mutual respect.
“Being an ally organization means so much to LGBTQ+ populations. LGBT people are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins. This is a fact and it isn’t going away. You have the opportunity to be an ally and a friend at home, school, church and work. A straight ally can merely be someone who is supportive and accepts the LGBT person, or a straight ally can be someone who personally advocates for equal rights and fair treatment.” (from the GLAAD website)
Blue Ridge Pride works to link our communities to these services through our allied Welcoming Groups and Faith Groups directories on our website. We have and are continuing to gather more allies like this so LGBTQ+ residents in the Blue Ridge Mountains can have an easy, safe resource to view and access much needed services. “Blue Ridge Pride is all about community growing together,” says Executive Director, Tina Madison White. “We are stronger and our lives so much richer when we unite and live as a community.”
For example, if you love to sing, why not join the Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus? If you’re into reading, why not check out the LGBTQ Book Club every month at Malaprops? Looking for education, advocacy, or support for local nonbinary or transgender support? Check out Tranzmission. This is the tip of the iceberg for services available on these directories. Although COVID-19 may affect some of these events, many exist online as well.
In fact, right now, we have over 100 welcoming groups and faith groups listed for everything from: peer support and group counseling, shared interests (books, singing, running, etc.), networking socials, community service advocacy, groups within an organization (school, business, churches), and virtual groups (like Generation Plus and other social media groups).
The Blue Ridge Mountains are filled with wonderful resources like these. Unfortunately, there are many that we aren’t even aware of. If you are an LGBTQ+ or advocacy organization – or an LGBTQ-welcoming organization or group visit the appropriate page at blueridgepride.org and click the add listing button.