Melanie Nathan’s Annual Do Donate and Do Not Donate 2012

By Melanie Nathan, December 21, 2012.

Melanie Nathan, Executive Director, Private Courts Inc. Mitt You Don't Own Me!

Melanie Nathan

As the year comes to a conclusion the ‘send me your money e-mails ‘ are stacking up  – and I must admit many of them annoy me, especially the ones that piggy back the work of others, asking for donations in the name of some obscure couch advocacy adventure, the shock and awe ones, those touting non-profits without any transparency.  I mean do you know where your money is really going?  Most people do not do their homework and simply fall for the lines that gets ‘em!  Many of you will probably be giving this year to organizations that get in line first, who have the most money to have the biggest blow horn.

So let us consider those who are not the brat of charities for a change, but rather those who remain obscure either for lack of funds or too real to chant the lying lines.

Well I did a little bit of homework and if you are into human rights or LGBTI issues and equality, here are the organizations I have either researched and/or known personally and fallen in love with; as well as those who I have researched and/or personally known to be undeserving.

What follows is Mel’s list of recommendations: Do donate and do not donate!



GAY MovieUSAGAY U.S.A. the Movie – This game-changing film is designed to bring all elements of Gay U.S.A. to the big screen. “We will not stop until we have reached full equality., ” is the chant!   Make a donation today and join the fight:
A film by Kristina Lapinski – co-produced by Melanie Nathan.  Of course I must provide the caveat that my first choice for you to donate to is GAY U.S.A. the Movie, – I am co-producer – biased as to the cause and in the absolute interests of transparency advise that your money is not tax deductible at this time.  It will be used for direct expenses in completing the film, which we hope will be completed around the time SCOTUS delivers its decision on Prop 8 and the Windsor DOMA case  (Summer 2013.)    See  After two years of shooting and mostly self-funded, we are now into post-production, this is the first end of year annual ask we are doing.     Donate here

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.53.53 PMGetEQUAL
– Our mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.51.25 PMOUT 4 Immigration – a volunteer grassroots organization that addresses the widespread discriminatory impact of U.S. immigration laws on the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV+ people and their families through education, outreach, advocacy and the maintenance of a resource and support network.  This group works hard for binational same-sex couples with virtually no funding at all and is worthy of a donation.  Please read online for more information; especially the heart wrenching stories of couples separated by DOMA which precludes green cards for same-sex couples even if they are legally married.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.48.17 PMNCLR – The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education .  What We Do: NCLR is a non-profit, public interest law firm which litigates precedent-setting cases at the trial and appellate court levels; advocates for equitable public policies affecting the LGBT community; provides free legal assistance to LGBT people and their legal advocates; and conducts community education on LGBT legal issues. Year Founded: 1977  –

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.46.19 PMEquality Kentucky – Existing in the bible belt without any viable resources reside many an unsupported LGBT person.  Kentucky Equality Federation is Kentucky’s largest all-volunteer grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (“LGBTI”) civil rights and advocacy organization for both social and political equality. Kentucky Equality Federation is a diverse organization consisting of several corporations and groups with a common cause for Peace, Liberty, and Equality for All.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.45.29 PMKeshet – is a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life. Led and supported by LGBT Jews and straight allies, Keshet strives to cultivate the spirit and practice of inclusion in all parts of the Jewish community. We began as a small, grassroots group working for change in the Greater Boston area, and we are now a national organization with offices in the Bay Area and Denver, in addition to our national office in Boston.

My Neighborhood:

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.44.33 PMBeyond Differences – Dear to my heart as the my friends Ace Smith and Laura Talmus, the parents of the late Lili Rachel Smith memorialize their beloved daughter by helping kids help each other: ​Beyond Differences is dedicated to ending social isolation among students in middle school. We believe that all teens should feel included, valued and accepted​ by their peers. The organization trains and empowers teens to lead​ the movement to create an inclusive middle school culture, and involves families, teachers and community leaders in support of their efforts.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 1.02.37 PMPeople learn to live together by living together.  At Fair Housing of Marin, we support human rights in all aspects of our lives and welcome the richness that diversity brings to our children, our neighborhoods and us.  Caveat I have recently resigned after beingon this Board for the past 7 years and so am biased in this recommendation. However I can say that the work is phenomenal and I highly encourage support. The group helps people who are discriminated against from obtaining housing and also recently provides much needed foreclosure advocacy and assistance.


Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 1.06.12 PM

SMUG / FARUG – To assist our Ugandan family directly with their advocacy and fight against persecution and the continued threat of the Kill the gays Bill:

Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) is a Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LBTI) organization which was established in 2003 by a group of fully fledged lesbians who were constantly harassed, insulted and discriminated by a misinformed society and who were touched by the plight of their sisters and brothers of the same sex orientation. We are a member based, and non registered organization, with a secretariat in Kampala.  FARUG is also a feminist organization run of feminist principles, equality of women as stipulated in the human rights and international instruments as ratified and the constitution. We recognize diversity. Most of our members are women who are also marginalized. We challenge male chauvinism, patriarchy and cultures that aim at oppressing women according to the constitution. We create women autonomous spaces and challenge heterenomativity and forge sisterhood solidarity. PLEASE NOTE: FARUG is updating its site and please check back for the donations page if you do not see it…. do not let that hinder your donation….

SMUG – Sexual Minorities Uganda – is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works towards achieving full legal and social equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people in Uganda. It is the umbrella organization of all homosexual organizations in Uganda. SMUG was created as a coalition of LGBTI organizations in March 2004. SMUG, now a network, addresses Human Rights issues based on sexual orientation. SMUG is integral part of the human rights advancement.  LGBTI organizations need to have a strong voice on human rights violations in Uganda and around the world especially those of sexual minorities.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.17.51 PMGAY FLAG South Africa – A charity very close to my heart: GFSA has given money to the organizations that help lesbian victims of so called “corrective rape.”  The Gay Flag of SA is a registered non-profit that has consistently promoted LGBT rights through publicity campaigns, advocacy and media communications. The GFSA is also known for engaging the queer community in a fun and flamboyant manner. Mission: -To unite the LGBTI community of South Africa under one symbol & to chronicle the fabulous queer people who make up this community. -To enable and educate South African activist to effectively market and gain press coverage for their organizations so that they can highlight key gay issues to the public and by doing so directly attain their own funding.

Free Gender, South Africa, a group of young black lesbian South Africans living in Khayelitsha township, Cape Town, helping to fight the issue of “corrective rape”.  I have witnessed their work first hand as I spent a day with the group at the murder trial of Zoliswa back in March 2011.  Under the extraordinary leadership of Funeka Soldaat, this group operates on a shoe string and well deserving of help.  Formed in 2008 with the mission to raise awareness about the rights of lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex women in the community, Free Gender participates in protests, meetings, and gives educational talks. Free Gender has been heavily involved in the campaign for justice for Zoliswa Nkonyana, the 19 year-old lesbian who was stabbed and stoned to death in February 2006.   financial support information:


1. AllOUT – See  article at  Fundraising on the backs of third party work, couch surfers, lack transparency, secretive about fund raising protocols, have yet to file 2011 IRS 990’s, fundraisers on the backs of starving Ugandans, unsure if money goes to 501 c 3 or 501 c 4, refuses to answer e-mails about fundraising and status, touted their wealth at initial launch and now begging for money on the backs of Ugandan activists, tout victory where there is no victory, pretending they are going to work to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide, yet failed to reveal a workable plan.  Dishonest operation, fail to reveal Board members and links to for profit groups on their website.

2. Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – Gay Inc. at its worst; works in isolation, lacks transparency, snubs grass root input, not fully inclusive,  Executive director earns over $320,000 per annum.

3. Immigration Equality  _ Lacks transparency, purports to represent LGBT interests to fullest but threw binational couples under the bus in favor of straight DREAMERS, unimpressive track record, fails to return phone calls of desperate asylees, glorified referral system, most touted victories are that of third parties. Most lawyer work referred out to pro bono lawyers, instances of cases where desperate asylum seekers kept on hold for months, refused to help some who found successful remedies elsewhere. Their so called advocacy and strategy in my opinion is laughable.

4. GLAAD The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) supporting the AT&T/T-Mobile merger in hopes it would  bring more access, faster service, and competitive pricing. That’s nice except that the merger probably won’t do any of that. And the merger also has nothing to do with defamation, meaning GLAAD has gone beyond its purported mission and needlessly inserted itself into a political dogfight. This written by QUEERTY June, 2011.  Now maybe some of you would not like the GLAAD time spent this way… just sayin!   OH yes and this part too… “Immediately John Avarosis from AmericaBlog pointed out that AT&T was one of the 13 corporations that helped repeal LGBT worker protections in Tennessee, they underwrite the GLAAD awards, and have made substantial monetary grants to GLAAD. Plus, GLAAD has had an ex-AT&T executive on their board. A case of secret backroom circle-jerking?” (QUEERTY)

5. CTA USA – CALL TO ACTION -Catholics Working Together for Justice and equality – Who claim – just as ALLOUT did that their Petition impacted the fact that the Ugandan Parliament recessed before the Anti-Homosexuality Bill could pass.  Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 4.44.26 PM

By Melanie Nathan
[email protected]

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    […] Melanie Nathan’s Annual Do Donate and Do Not Donate 2012 ( […]

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