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    Time to Say Thanks and to Keep the Momentum Going

    By Roger Doughty

    What a year! By almost any measure, this has been one extraordinary year in LGBT people’s long quest for equality, freedom, and dignity. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have full marriage equality. A bill to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination passed the U.S. Senate. Transgender exclusions are now prohibited in California health plans. The President of the United States invoked Stonewall – along with Selma and Seneca Falls – as milestones in the centuries-old American march toward justice. Yep, it has been a phenomenal year.

    As 2013 rolls rapidly toward its end, we have an awful lot to be proud of, excited about – and grateful for. Rarely have there been so many reasons to be hopeful about the LGBT future.

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    Representatives from recipient groups and organizations gathered to celebrate with Horizons.

    And never has there been a better time to demonstrate that hope by making a year-end contribution to an LGBT organization that will continue to move us forward by helping to meet the needs, secure the rights, and celebrate the lives of LGBT people.

    History is not an accident.

    These changes didn’t simply fall out of the sky. They didn’t happen because of some historical inevitability or because those who oppose us suddenly gave up. Progress like we are witness to now happens for reasons. It happens because of actions taken by hundreds of thousands of us (and our allies). It happens because of the tremendous work of LGBT advocacy and service organization, and the indefatigable energy of their staffs, boards, and, of course, their volunteers.

    We know, however, that working hard, year-in and year-out, isn’t all that it takes. It takes more than heart and dedication and determination.

    It takes money.

    If you’ve said to yourself even once in these last few years, “I never thought it would happen in my lifetime,” it’s time now to say thanks.

    No one, of course, would suggest that money alone is the answer, but it’s undeniably essential to sustain the gains we’ve made, and continue to make progress.

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    Deb Stallings and Roger Doughty proudly displaying the composite check. PHOTOS COURTESY OF HORIZONS FOUNDATION

    Without enough money, we don’t have advocates working day-in and day-out in legislatures and courtrooms stretching from coast to coast. We don’t get community organizations that are there to provide essential help to tens of thousands of LGBT people right here in the Bay Area who turn to them every single year. They’re there to help that young person arriving in San Francisco seeking a safe place; to help that LGBT elder find community and support; to help those with illnesses and challenges of all kinds find the care they need.

    From beer busts and penny jars to annual gifts and black-tie dinners, individual givers have always been the backbone of our community, and are still the single most important source of funding for LGBT organizations.

    I hope you will look back on this exceptional year, and celebrate its many accomplishments by making a gift to a non-profit organization that will help us move towards a time described in Horizons’ vision statement, “where all people live free from prejudice and discrimination and where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people contribute to and thrive in a vibrant, diverse, giving, and compassionate community.”

    Happy holidays from Horizons Foundation.

    Roger Doughty is the Executive Director of Horizons Foundation.