Blog of Rights

Tell Three: Because Coming Out Is Not Enough

By Chris Hampton, ACLU LGBT Project at 5:14pm

For those of us who work for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, it’s been clear for years now that we are slowly but surely getting closer and closer to attaining equality. Thanks to the Lawrence v. Texas decision five years ago, our intimate relationships can no longer be outlawed. Many state and local governments ban discrimination against LGBT people, hundreds of major corporations offer domestic partner protections to their LGBT employees, and many other advances have been made.

But it’s just as clear that we still have a long road ahead of us. In the last election, California voted to get rid of marriage rights for our community; 29 other states have done the same. LGBT people still get fired from their jobs just for being who they are, young people still get beat up in school for seeming "queer" while school administrators do nothing about it, and in some states, same-sex couples can't foster or adopt while children in need go without homes.

LGBT visibility has brought a lot of progress, but being out and visible just isn’t enough. What we’ve learned from social science research is that the thing that most changes people's hearts and minds and gets them to support equality is having had meaningful, detailed conversations with LGBT people about what our lives are really like.

That’s what Tell 3 is all about. Tell 3 is a campaign we just launched in partnership with Join the Impact; Equality California; the Equality Federation; Freedom to Marry; the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; the National Center for Lesbian Rights; and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays to encourage LGBT people and their supporters to have three conversations with friends and family to help build support for LGBT equality.

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So check out the Tell 3 website, where we have suggestions about what to talk about, ideas about who you can talk with, resources and more. Who are you going to tell?

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