Changing your Facebook profile picture doesn’t automatically make you a GLBTQ ally

English: Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Logo. HRC...
English: Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Logo. HRC is one of the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equal rights organizations in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may have noticed people changing their Facebook profile picture to a pink equals sign on a red background yesterday.

This action was in support of the GLBTQ community while the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about whether or not to repeal Proposition 8, even though the court’s decision is not expected for some time.

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While simply changing one’s profile picture seems like an empty gesture, it represents much more to a community that has a long history of judgement, isolation and persecution.

Members of the GLBTQ community walk down the street and don’t know who around them is an ally and who will judge or persecute them for an aspect of their identity they have no control over.

Ideally, this showing of solidarity in the form of a flood of red equals signs on their Facebook feed reduces that sense of isolation and alienation.

But just changing a profile picture doesn’t automatically make you an ally and paragon of GLBTQ rights. If you really want to make a significant difference in the lives of members of the GLBTQ community, become an active participant in their fight for equal rights.

Attend a GLBTQ rally.

Donate money or volunteer time to the Human Rights Campaign.

Get in touch with our representatives in an attempt to affect legislation.

We’ve seen that social activism can make strides as far as bringing an issue to light, i.e. the KONY 2012 campaign, but in order to affect actual change, people need to do more than make a couple clicks on their computer.