The hype surrounding Pride Month has faded. Just weeks after the month-long celebration of LGBTQ+ life in this amazing country, we have experienced an unforeseen wave of Supreme Court decisions that have left us scared of the unknowns that lie ahead of us.
Now that the wave of momentum with massive parades, marches and events around LGBTQ+ causes has quieted, it is time to be true advocates. Now is the time to have meetings with decision makers, whether it be with government officials, elected officials and community leaders, inside of the workplace or at home.
An Instagram or Twitter post showing you are an ally of our community is no longer enough. This bare minimum work can no longer be considered activism. Instead, you need to be a true advocate.
Our freedom and rights as members of the LGBTQ+ community are under fire. We do not only need loud voices, but people who are dedicated to unofficial diplomacy. This means we need to have closed door meetings with those who we can ensure will support our right to have the freedom to be who we are.
Recently, I have been meeting with senior representatives of Middle Eastern nations where it is illegal to be homosexual and being LGBTQ+ faces punishments of imprisonment and death. If leadership in these representatives’ homelands knew they met with me – a Jewish, Israeli and American, LGBTQ+ activist – they could face harsh punishments, the least of which would be their removal from office and their positions.
We spoke about their desires to boost their nation’s economy and how they can deal with business relations with Jewish, Israeli, American minorities and LGBTQ people, including dealing with the rights of LGBTQ+ people within their nations.
In discussing these important matters, such as how and why things should change within their country, it showed that we each have a different impetus. Theirs primarily being for economic benefit, and mine being for human rights, civil rights and social justice. Even if we approached one another for differing needs, we met at the same nexus. And this became a friendly conversation, mixed with banter over drinks and food.
Now, you need to keep marching in a different way. Take actions from which you see change happening. And do it in your own way: be creative.
Content is being made
This is also why I am working to create and share more content that exposes the needs for representation and using art as advocacy.
I directed a soon-to-be-released feature film that explores the challenges and aspirations of LGBTQ+ people of faith, who struggle with their religious and LGBTQ+ identities. I share short and long videos across social media that discuss social and political concerns. Sometimes this is self-produced and sometimes it is in collaboration with organizations. Ultimately, it is all intended to get the message out, to affect change and increase awareness.
Collaboration is key, in terms of creating and sharing the work. It is the approach that I refer to as the art of social change, how to creatively impart a message, educate and inform people, and drive activism causes further forward.
The writer is an Emmy Award winning actor, host, director and filmmaker, with over 100 international film festival awards. He is an active leader in the LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities, partnering with numerous organizations, including as the director of mobilization for the End Jew Hatred movement.