So, I’m turning 50. (I know, hard to believe, I don’t look a day over 35. Right? RIGHT!!!?)
I’d been thinking about how I want to commemorate this historical event. What should I do? A big party? An intimate dinner with my closest friends? Alone, numbing myself with drugs and alcohol?
What I finally decided was that I am extremely fortunate to reach this milestone. I know so many who haven’t. We all do. All I really want for my 50th Birthday is to help pay it forward by raising money for those without the resources to help themselves. So I am asking you now to please help me celebrate my day by considering a tax deductible donation to the non-profit organization Alturi.
Alturi is an LA based organization that works to educate, engage, and help improve the lives of LGBTI people worldwide. They came to my attention with their support for the LGBTI community in Bangladesh after two gay-rights activists were hacked to death with machetes in a shocking hate crime. Sadly, just one in a series of similar hate crimes there. One, Xulhaz Mannan, was the founder and editor of the only LGBT magazine in Bangladesh which he bravely started two years earlier. The other was his co-worker.
I have since learned that…
- Almost 3 billion people live in countries where homosexuality is criminalized. That’s 40% of the world.
- Being gay is punishable by death in 14 countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria.
- ISIS executes gays by tying them to chairs and pushing them off the rooftops of tall buildings.
- In parts of Africa and the Caribbean lesbians are “cured” by “corrective rape.”
A friend of mine was the victim of multiple “corrective rapes” as a teenager in Jamaica. When she reported it to the police they told her it was her fault for being a lesbian. She has since become a vocal advocate for the LGBTI community in Jamaica working closely with Alturi.
On the positive side, there are many organizations around the world working for the safety, respect, and equality of LGBTI people in their home countries. Alturi works to connect and support these brave LGBTI advocates worldwide. They bring education and attention to the issues, violence, and hardships facing the global LGBTI community. They are the megaphone for those in need of one.
They have partnered with more than 20 organizations around the world. They joined the fight for marriage equality in the Czech Republic, helped the Thai transgender community work to achieve recognition, and supported an organization that trained human rights workers in Turkey on safety and respect for LGBTI refugees. They are currently helping fund a safe house for LGBTI advocates in imminent danger in Jakarta, Indonesia. They can’t do any of this without our help and donations.
The tragedy in Orlando reinforced to me that we are all one community. It drove home how important is is that we, gay and straight and others, help our LGBTI brothers and sisters around the world who can’t help themselves. Many with nothing but dreams for the same freedoms you and I share and often take for granted. Please give what you can. No amount is too small. If all my friends donated just $5, that would easily get me to my goal. A $10 or $20 donation would help surpass it. Please, no other gifts but this. You can make a tax deductible donation directly to Alturi by clicking on the link provided. Please click on the link and give what you can.
Reaching my goal would truly make my birthday a happy one. (And this seemed a lot easier than running a marathon or taking a bike ride from San Francisco to LA. I guess it’s true that you really do get wiser with age.) Thank you for considering this and being my Facebook friends and family.
With pride and love.
PS – Please share this page with others you think might be interested in helping as well. Thanks again!