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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The LGBT Community Gives Back

By Dana Rudolph -

We often ask what the government, businesses, and communities are doing to help LGBT people. A few stories in the headlines recently, though, show some of the ways in which LGBT people are giving back to their communities at large.
First is the mysterious tale of  Jim and Dylan, a couple in New York City who inexplicably began to receive hundreds of letters addressed to Santa Claus. Instead of simply taking them back to the post office, reported the New York Times, they reached out to coworkers and friends to help fulfill the children's wishes in them. In the end, they responded to about half of the more than 400 letters they received.
And the Boston Globe included Massachusetts lesbian couple Sue Kyle and Shawn Wilson among its "local shining stars" for founding "Lights of Love," a holiday fund-raiser for the Gorton’s Special Cancer Care Center at Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester. Kyle was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2008. She survived, and she and Wilson began raising funds and awareness about cancer.
For "Lights of Love," people may pay to light a bulb or a strand of lights on a Christmas tree at the hospital’s main entrance. Kyle and Wilson also do fundraising all year at the four locations of the restaurant they own. All told, the women have raised tens of thousands of dollars since 2008.
Halfway across the country, the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit -- a denomination with a large LGBT membership -- expanded its "Giving Tree" program beyond its congregation to deliver nearly $4,000 worth of presents -- including food, grocery gift cards and warm clothing -- to six area families in need, according to Detroit LGBT paper Between the Lines.
What is especially notable about the two mainstream papers that reported the stories above is that they mentioned the couples' partnerships in the same way they would for any opposite-sex couple. The pairs are doing their good works as couples, and there was no need to hide that -- but the stories were not saved for any kind of special section on the LGBT community. They are part of the wider community, giving back to the wider community, and their stories were reported that way. Bravo.


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