7 ways to give a little gay this holiday season

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The stockings are hung, the chestnuts are roasting and not many creatures are stirring. But as you enjoy a merry Christmas, there are gay people and LGBT groups in need, so consider these suggestions for last-minute holiday gifts (and year-end tax deductions).

Georgia Equality: From working with political allies to putting a stop to anti-gay legislation, this statewide gay rights lobby is gearing up for the 2011 legislative session. It’s hired a high-octane lobbyist and wants to push legislation that would offer workplace protections for LGBT Georgians. To support its efforts, the group hopes to raise $15,000 by Jan. 10 with its Equal-A-Thon.

In the current political climate, this will be a long and difficult fight, but it’s one we must wage. We cannot count on the federal government to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Georgians; we have to do it ourselves.?

Pets Are Loving Support: From a PALS Pal to a year-long sponsor, the group that cares for the pets of critically-ill Atlantans – and throws one hell of a bingo fundraiser each month – is asking for your help.

P.A.L.S. cannot continue serving the critically ill and helping seniors maintain independent living without you. We need your financial support. Your contribution of any amount is welcomed and very much appreciated.

MEGA Family Project: The group that provides support and advocacy for LGBT families is small yet serves more than 4,000 people in Georgia. They recently held a toy drive, but the needs are never-ending. The group offers an easy way to help: Become a MEGA Family Champion with a monthly donation and you get rewarded with discounts on events and other special offers.

Can you donate $10, $25, or whatever amount you can afford per month to make sure MEGA keeps its doors open? This is the time we need you to step forward and become a Family Champion. We wouldn’t ask if we didn’t need it.

YouthPride: The organization for LGBT youth has struggled financially, yet continues to serve its 1,600 youth members with social and educational programming. A donation will help the group continue its offerings.

Our programs have supported the healthy and successful transition of thousands of Atlanta’s LGBTQQ youth into adulthood. Each year hundreds of youth receive mental health counseling, suicide prevention interventions, and other therapeutic services. Dozens of suicides are prevented annually. And this year YouthPride started offering free clinic services.

Jerusalem House: The agency that provides housing for homeless and low-income people impacted by HIV/AIDS benefits from a host of events throughout the year, including its popular Carnevale. But as it looks to expand its housing units by more than two-dozen in 2011, the group is asking for help. A $50 donation provides one day of housing in its Scattered Sites Program apartment units, while $200 covers the cost of a day of housing for its Family Program.

Your donation helps provide the necessary stability of a home and a complete range of critical supportive services our residents must have in order to turn around their lives.

Atlanta Pride Committee: The organization that stages Pride each October is a small, mostly-volunteer operation charged with putting on a large-scale event. It slashed its budget, yet still puts on an event that draws tens of thousands of people every year. Their suggestion? Make a donation in honor of a loved one, either to them or – humble group that they are – to nine other LGBT groups they suggested in a recent email to supporters.

Make a donation to a nonprofit organization in honor of a loved one. If your budget is $5 or $500, there are great local organizations that can use the help. Take a moment to think about what’s important to your loved one and find a nonprofit that is dedicated to that cause. Whether their passion is HIV/AIDS issues, Pets, School Bullying, Healthcare, Legislative Initiatives, Children, or the Arts, there is an LGBT organization focused on it. Don’t know where to start? Here are just a few to consider: Positive Impact, AID Atlanta, PALS, Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, Georgia Equality, Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative, MEGA Family Project, Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, Atlanta Freedom Bands, Atlanta Pride.

Brushstrokes: Of course, you should always support your local LGBT retailers – Brushstrokes, Outwrite, Charis, Boy Next Door and many others – but we’re not talking about donating to the store. To celebrate its 21st birthday, Brushstrokes announced that it was donating a portion of its sales in December to one of three groups — Atlanta Pride Committee, Jerusalem House and Pets Are Loving Support. You get to pick at the time of purchase. How easy is that?

We culled these ideas from recent pitches made by the groups themselves. If you have other LGBT-inclusive suggestions, add them in the comments below.

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