Gay associations and organizations are a significant part of the gay community carrying out a number of responsibilities, largely to improve the lifestyles of their members, families and loved ones. There are a larger number groups than what we know about or that are discussed about, but they all have a common interest. Their central task is drawn around the ideas of togetherness, support & aid, health issues, normalization and education.
While there exist several support groups assisting the members of the gay community as a whole, very few are as recognized and committed to the cause as the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or simply the PFLAG. PFLAG’s aim is to support overall health of the LGBT community carried out through continuous support, assistance and awareness. Their combined efforts have played an undeniable role in fighting for equality for the community since 1972. PFLAG’s dedication in terms of awareness and education have long been regarded as unparalleled in improving the position of gays in our society as well as empowering them to break stereotypes concerning the entire community.
The significance of groups such as PFLAG is mostly in the lines of personal advocacy. It supports members dealing with coming-out issues, adjusting to the changes surrounding family, friends and society as a whole. Also important is their insurmountable help towards members struggling with the realisation and discovery of this new self identity; showing them kindness and compassion in this journey to becoming more comfortable in their own skin.
There are various other organizations with specific awareness and educational programs aiming towards the improvement of the overall image and reputation of the gay community. Among them, are the GLAAD and The Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center of New York. These are all organizations directing their services wholeheartedly towards the development and betterment of the gay community while also looking after the individual needs of its members. Even schools in the US these days have support groups like Gay/Straight alliances helping students feel comfortable and accepted within the periphery of their educational institute. Having such groups enable children to dig deep and find their identity, their needs and yet not feel ashamed or be condemned to discuss the specifics.
Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation or GLAAD is one of the best known gay organizations. It categorically specialises in improving the image of the community. GLAAD works towards depicting and propagating an honest, true to life representation of gay people and their daily lives to the media. Their objective is to normalize the lifestyle of gays in an attempt to eradicate hate, homophobia and bias based on sexual preference and identity.
It is general knowledge that gay individuals will make it their priority to get in touch with GLAAD after having experienced any harassment or defamatory event pertaining to their rights or their sexuality. GLAAD has a reputation that affirms that they will fight tooth and nail against all discrimination and do everything and more in its power to obtain justice. In a world where everyone is fighting over the central image of the gay individual, GLAAD is still working to help them with the most trivial, grassroots problems because they believe that it needs looking after first. An improvement of their image in the media is important, but they do not want to neglect the basic things.
While there are gay support groups for the empowerment and acceptance of gay individuals in the society, people often overlook the idea that they are not only meant for that purpose. Though their immediate function is to provide some sort of advice or assistance to the community, the greater aim is to unite everyone in the community and bring about a form of social harmony and balance. Due to the fact that we live in a world where everything is closely connected we must always see to it that we need to be maintaining a perfect balance. The concern in matters of education is a legitimate one and is directed towards every one irrespective of sexual preference.
Though there are a couple of groups in every state of the United States dedicated to assisting the gay community, very little can be said about the same happening in India. Neither awareness nor ignorance amongst the youth is the issue, but the topic is still a controversial one. Homosexuality is a giant, untouchable taboo and we can only hope for the day when the rainbow will finally stand tall and bright, its seven colours spreading love and equality across all corners of the pale blue sky.