The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates there are 8.8 million gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the United States -- roughly 3 percent of the total population. According to one study, the cities with the highest gay populations are San Francisco (15.4 percent), Seattle (12.9 percent) and Atlanta (12.8 percent) [source: Turnbull].
Helping Gay Rights Organizations
Hundreds of international and national organizations work exclusively on behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, for one, documents cases of abuse and discrimination around the world. The Human Rights Campaign, for another, is the largest LGBT political action committee in the United States. With 725,000 members, it lobbies Congress to support gay rights legislation and tries to mobilize the gay community to get out and vote [source: Human Rights Campaign].
Most, if not all, of gay rights organizations are nonprofits dependent on donations and volunteers. Where you give your time or money depends on what causes interest you. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), for example, fights homophobic stereotypes by encouraging accurate and inclusive portrayals of gay people in the media, including advertising, TV and film.
Founded in 1985 in response to The New York Post's sensationalized coverage of the AIDS epidemic, GLAAD has succeeded in numerous media campaigns, including getting newspapers like The New York Times to include gay and lesbian couples in wedding announcements [source: GLAAD].
If your focus is religion and equality, you may want to check out organizations like DignityUSA, which advocates for gays rights within the Catholic Church or IntegrityUSA, which promotes full inclusion of gays in the Episcopal Church.
In the political realm, there are groups like Log Cabin Republicans, which supports the Republican party's position on low taxes, limited government, free markets and strong defense, but not its socially conservative stance against civil unions and gay marriage [source: Log Cabin Republicans].
For loved ones who want to join the cause, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) provides nationwide public education on sexual orientation, gender identity and related gay issues [source: PFLAG].
One organization focused specifically on transgender rights is the National Center for Transgender Equality.
For more on gay rights organizations, see the links on the following page.