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#mad4equality

Earlier this year, the Campaign for Southern Equality released some powerfully emotional videos (see above) in which same-sex couples across the South walked up to counters where they knew they would be denied marriage licenses and asked for marriage licenses anyway. Simple acts of courage like this can make an enormous difference in changing culture. Furthermore, I am convinced that we need to fight for marriage equality in the south if we want to achieve it everywhere else. Why support CSE?

Across the South, LGBT people lack basic legal protections, face robust opposition to our rights and have limited resources for advocacy. LGBT people in our region are also at an elevated risk of poverty. Beyond this, the South receives less than five percent of the total annual funding that goes to LGBT organizations nationally. Factors like this contribute to the commonly held belief that the South is “unwinnable” when it comes to LGBT rights.

But we hold a different view. First, we believe there is a pressing need for advocacy, legal and crisis response services for LGBT people in the South. Second, we believe that LGBT people and allies in the South are uniquely positioned to accelerate winning full equality on the federal level by directly resisting discriminatory laws and systems. Third, we believe that every person – including those conflicted about or opposed to LGBT rights – can become an ally.

As a result, we’re taking a new approach, building upon a rich legacy of civil rights organizing in the South and working in close partnership with other LGBT and civil rights groups.

I grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Tar Heel basketball is taken pretty seriously. I have long since moved away, but March Madness always makes me homesick. This year, I dedicate my homesickness to improving my home’s culture.

I am proud to team up with my friend Chris Bourg (“the Feral Librarian”) and the Butch Wonders blog to host a March Madness tournament, proceeds to benefit the Campaign for Southern Equality

The basic details are described at Announcing … Mad for Equality! We are planning on a $10 per bracket entry fee, with 1/3 of the pot going to the winner(s), 1/3 to Campaign for Southern Equality, and 1/3 to another LGBT equality charity to be determined by popular vote. So — head over to Butch Wonders and nominate your favorite charity. We will also be tweeting about the contest on the hashtag #mad4equality.

You can also donate directly to the Campaign for Southern equality at http://www.southernequality.org/donate/.

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