Jay Kaplan, LBGT Project staff attorney

While the gay rights movement began over 30 years ago, the process of coming out of the closest remains difficult for many in the LGBT community.

Even in 2009, with so many positive strides towards equality, many people still fear the reality of discrimination.

To combat this, recently the ACLU joined forces with several LGBT organizations to launch the “Tell 3” campaign.

With the help of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Gay and Lesbian Advocates as well as Defenders and Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays, the ACLU is urging us to “Tell 3”  people what it’s like for us or our loved ones to be LGBT.

Studies show that when more people know someone who is LGBT, the more likely they are to be supportive of equality and same rights. That is why it’s so important for LGBT people to be out to their friends, neighbors, loved ones, and co-workers.

However it takes more than just coming out to win LGBT equality. While surprising to some, LGBT people need to continue to have conversations with their straight allies, even if we think that they already support LGBT equality.

Even supportive people may not fully understand just how much the impact of being LGBT has on our daily lives.

In reality, many members of the LGBT community in Michigan may not be aware that we are not protected under Michigan civil rights laws against discrimination and that our relationships and families are not recognized under Michigan laws, policies, and practices.

Having a conversation with our allies cannot only educate them regarding the inequities that exist, but also inspire these supporters to take action. We will not win the battle for equality and fair treatment alone. There is a strong need for a broad based coalition that includes our progressive allies in order for us to change both hearts and minds.

Want to know how you can help? Then check out the website www.tell-three.org to see how your story can inspire others. You can help to make a difference.