Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In Which The Salvation Army Asks for Experiences with Red Kettles and Bell Ringers

I went to Tops this Holiday season and noticed a Salvation Army bell ringer out front. He looked rather cold outside of a relatively low traffic grocery store and people were just passing him by. I thought about helping him, perhaps buying him a cup of coffee from the nearby Dunkin Donuts, or dropping some change into his kettle.

But then I remembered, it's a good bet that if our roles were reversed, if I were sitting in front of some storefront, cold and worn out, the Salvation Army probably wouldn't help me. You see, I'm a bisexual and transgendered male, two things the Salvation Army kind of frowns upon. It wasn't that long ago when the Salvation Army threatened to shut down its soup kitchens in New York City if anti-discrimination legislation forced them to help gay people.  And stories of them refusing to help Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered individuals range far and wide.

You see, the Salvation Army would rather help no one, than help someone like me. So I ignored the bell ringer and donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York City, an organization dedicated to helping the city's 3,800 homeless youth, a whopping 40% of which are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgendered. It's a small gesture, but I hope it helps organizations that don't discriminate rise above ones that do, like the Salvation Army.

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