December 22, 2011 at 10:10 am EST | by Staff reports
Making a list, checking it twice

By now everyone’s made a wish list — whether you want peace on earth or a new flat-screen plasma TV, it’s the season to dream.

Blade staff asked local LGBT non-profits to share their holiday wish lists in the hope that readers will remember them in their end-of-year charitable donations. They can always use monetary gifts of course, but sometimes it’s helpful to know specifics.

We didn’t purposefully exclude any organization but neither did we try to make it exhaustive — there are many worthy LGBT groups in the Washington area, but these are a few of the smaller ones that are sometimes overlooked.

We also asked them to keep it real — obviously all of us would like full LGBT legislative rights and multi-million dollar budgets to achieve them, but the needs are often more basic and practical.

Anyone wishing to make a donation may contact the organizations directly (contact info included below).

Us Helping Us is a local group committed to improving the health and well-being of black gay men and to reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS in the black community. Its leaders wish for:

1. A 3,100-square-foot space for a new youth program and the money to help pay for it.

2. A volunteer event coordinator to help with annual fundraiser reception.

3. Every black gay man in D.C. to get an HIV test and see a doctor if positive.

Contact the group here.

The D.C. Center is a community center for LGBT residents of the D.C. metro area. Its leaders wish for:

1. Office space — The D.C. Center expects to relocate before the end of 2012. If you would like to help identify the next home for the D.C. Center, please join the Relocation Committee.

2. Business partners — Washington is a transient city and for many folks moving to our area, the D.C. Center is one of their first stops. We recently added a new display board at the Center to share business cards for Realtors, financial planners, personal trainers and anyone who wants to connect with the LGBT community. Our professional partners program gives businesses the opportunity to display their business cards, advertise in the D.C. Center Newsletter and be listed in our online business directory. Businesses can find out more at

3. Party planners — We need volunteers who know how to throw a great party. We will be planning several social events connected to the National Gay Men’s Health Summit, which the D.C. Center will host in July and expect several hundred gay, bi and trans men from around the country. So if you have ideas of how we can show them a good time (and raise some money to pay for the conference) volunteer for the Summit Planning Committee. Find out more at

4. Twenty new beds for homeless LGBT youth in the District — The District currently has a total of seven beds for homeless LGBT Youth in the District at the Wanda Alston House. That is simply not enough. To get involved in the D.C. Center Youth Working Group find us on Facebook at

5. Packing partners — D.C. Center volunteers assemble thousands of safer sex kits each week and we rely on individuals and organizations to make that happen. If your organization (or group of friends) is looking for a great group volunteer activity, schedule a time to come pack safer sex kits at the Center. Find out more about our HIV Working Group at

6. Fifty new Center associates — Center Associates are community members who support the Center by donating $10 or more per month. These donations added up to nearly $15,000 in 2010. Our goal in 2011 is to add 50 new Center Associates. Sign up online at

7. Kitchen supplies — We welcome donations of paper towels, disposable cups and plates, napkins, toilet paper and recycling containers.

8. Techno-geeks — Our Cyber Center provides computer and Internet access to the community and many local LGBT organizations. We have top-of-the-line computers that are in need of maintenance from a pro. We also have some exciting website database projects for the coming year.  If you have experience with MySQL and PHP and would like to volunteer, please contact us.

9. Office supplies — We welcome donations of office supplies including paper, staples, filing folders and 60-watt light bulbs.

10. Movie buffs Sean Honick and June Crenshaw are the co-chairs of next year’s Glamour, Glitter, Gold Oscar Party taking place Feb. 26 at Town Danceboutique. If you know a thing or two about movies, please join the Oscar party planning committee.

Contact the Center here.

Equality Maryland is the state’s largest LGBT civil rights group. Its leaders wish for:

1. Free conference/meeting space throughout the state.

2. Five new Mac Minis ($599 each) or, for those feeling especially generous, iMacs ($1,299 each).

3. Fifty new monthly sustainers at the Equality Maryland Foundation at the $25 level to fund our Transgender Education/Empowerment Project.

4. Fifty new monthly sustainers at the Equality Maryland Foundation at the $25 level to help us hire a director of development.

5. To have transgender Maryland residents legally protected from discrimination.

6. Marriage equality for all couples.

Make donations to Equality Maryland here.

HOBS (Helping Our Brothers and Sisters) provides hope and assistance to LGBT individuals whose options have been exhausted. Its leaders wish for:

1. Donations to pay for the burial plot in Congressional Cemetery for late gay activist Frank Kameny. About $3,000 is needed.

2. General donations for the group to continue its work assisting those facing discrimination, eviction, violence and more.

3. We also wish to hire an administrative person in 2012 to coordinate outreach efforts.

Send HOBS donations to P.O. Box 53477, Washington, D.C. 20009 or here.

SMYAL (Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League) works to support and enhance the self esteem of LGBT youth. Its leaders wish for:

1.  $25 to cover the facility costs to operate SMYAL’s after-school Youth Center for a whole day in 2012.

2. $33 for one outreach visit to a Gay-Straight Alliance in a local school to introduce LGBT students to SMYAL’s programs.

3. $100 to provide one-hour of LGBT youth awareness training to teachers, social workers and other youth service professionals.

4. $192 for Metro fare for a youth to attend our weekly support group every week for the entire year.

5. $300 for a month’s worth of healthy snacks and refreshments for our after-school Youth Center.

6. $550 for a new computer for SMYAL’s youth computer lab.

Contact SMYAL at

Gender Rights Maryland works to promote civil rights, education, tolerance, equality and acceptance on the basis of sex and gender identity/expression in Maryland. Its leaders wish for:

1. A Maryland General Assembly eager to follow in the footsteps of Howard County, and also impatient to supersede Alabama as a civil rights leader, by passing, quickly and overwhelmingly, a comprehensive gender identity and expression bill over the next few months.

2. A world that quickly gets to know its trans and gender non-conforming neighbors as decent, helpful and productive, and as a result ceases from heaping ridicule and violence on those least able to defend themselves.

3. An LGBT community that takes its name seriously, evolves positively in its commitment to and respect for the trans and gender non-conforming communities and triples its expenditures toward those communities.

4. A gay community that recognizes the power of the recent 11th Circuit decision to protect trans and gender non-conforming folks under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and acts accordingly.

5. A recommitment of the community at large to protect the most marginalized and vulnerable in the heartland as well as along the coasts, by directing its focus toward passing an inclusive ENDA, an omnibus civil rights bill, and winning a Title 7 case, preferably in the 4th Circuit, with all due speed. No delays, no excuses.

6. A Maryland population that recognizes the importance of marriage equality for all and no longer wastes its energy on hate and fear-mongering.

7. A return of America to her roots of liberty and equality, bringing compassion, decency, justice and at least a dollop of sanity back to the national discourse. Greed is not good.

Find out more about Gender Rights Maryland and its work here.

Brother Help Thyself is a community-based organization that provides financial and other support to non-profit organizations serving LGBT and AIDS communities in the Baltimore and Washington metro areas. Its leaders wish for:

1. General donations to strengthen our annual grant-giving activities, in particular our Medford Fund, which provides capital assistance to non-profits. We’re hoping to raise an additional $5,000 to $10,000 for this fund for our grants reception next month as the fund took quite a hit on the stock market this year.

2. Sponsor(s) to fund our Grants Reception on Jan. 28 at Remington’s — $1,200 (food and plaques for awards).

3. Underwriter(s)/sponsor(s) for our 35th Anniversary Gala and Grants Reception at a downtown D.C. location in January 2013 — $30,000 total.

4. Office equipment: computer, scanner (high speed), printer, fax.

Quick Books software and technical assistance converting our accounts. High-speed Internet for our office.

5. Video teleconferencing ability for our monthly board meetings.

Donations may be sent to Brother Help Thyself at P.O. Box 77841, Washington D.C., 20013 or here.

Transgender Health Empowerment works to enhance the quality of life for local transgender residents. The Wanda Alston House is the only housing program in the city solely dedicated to offering support to homeless LGBTQ youth. Leaders of THE and the Alston House wish for:

1. Items for the drop-in center, including towels, wash cloths, T-shirts, cosmetic items in large bottles (shampoo, body wash, toothbrushes and toothpaste), combs and brushes, body lotions, baby oil, deodorant.

2. Sofas and pots and pans for the Alston House.

3. Bed linens for the youth house (seven full beds) andfor the supportive house (seven twin beds) and comforters for all beds.

Contact THE here and the Alston House here.

  • The AIDS Policy Project has almost single-handedly revived activism around a cure for AIDS (not treatment, not vaccines, etc.); research which was woefully underfunded and ignored.

    Here’s what they are doing:

    1, They reinvigorated a demoralized group of scientists, and pushed the National Institutes of Health to divulge the amount of money it spends on AIDS cure research (astoundingly, only 3% of its AIDS research budget),

    2. They convinced major publications like New York Magazine to cover the issue–

    3. And successfully prodded the NIH to spend $13 million *new* dollars on AIDS cure research, which is funding critical new research initiatives.

    4. They wrote a groundbreaking little report, AIDS Cure Research for Everyone, which has influenced policymakers and Nobel Prize winners alike. (Free on their web site.)

    5. They’ve also managed to rally other groups to push for a cure–something that everyone talked about but few activists were actually working on when the AIDS Policy Project started.

    Want to help? They sure need you. Please volunteer or make a financial contribution.


  • My wishlist
    1. A list that is not all about the transgenders. Hello, when did they take over?
    2. An effective Equality Maryland. Sorry, but that trainwreck won’t stop. 2A. Bring back Dan Furmansky.
    3. A DC Center not constantly looking for a “new home”. Isn’t obvious that this organization needs to hit the re-start button? If it were relevant, it would have resources.

  • Rick,

    You said you wanted “A list that is not all about the transgenders. Hello, when did they take over?” Please tell me you are joking, right? There is only one organization dedicated to the transgender community on this list. Every other organization is all inclusive of the entire LGBT Community. And what do you mean they are taking over? Last time I checked, violence towards the transgender community has increased in this area and is not stopping. They are the lowest served and respected group in the country and unfortunately (thanks to people like you) in our own LGBT Community.

    Let me guess, you’re probably a white privileged male that never had to worry about someone following you in a store, harrasing you on the street, not letting you into an establishment because of who you are, or working ten times harder to prove yourself. Get over yourself! People like you in this community make me sick!

    I hope EVERY organization on this list gets everything they wish for.

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