Leone Kraus

How Friendfactor Speeds Up the LGBT Equality Movement

Filed By Leone Kraus | December 07, 2010 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: Brian Elliot, Friendfactor, Kraus Notes, LGBT Social Media

In case you missed it, a new social networking site has sprung and it's an important one. Friendfactor is a social networking site designed to give members of the LGBT community a platform to show their straight friends what LGBT equality issues matter most to them. Friendfactor allows members of the LGBT community create a profile and then they ask their straight friends to support them.

Check out Friendfactor's video below.

Learn more about Friendfactor after the jump!

Here's How it Works

Each user creates an Advocacy Headquarters page. You answer a few fun (but important) questions about yourself.

Below is a screenshot of my Advocacy Headquarters.

Screen shot 2010-12-05 at 2.25.31 PM.pngYou can see from the above that in the state of New York, I only have 59% of the rights as my straight friends in New York. I'm pretty well versed in LGBT politics and that percentage still shocks me. I think it's great that Friendfactor has found a way to incorporate the percentages of rights that LGBT people have across the United States for all to see.

Once you've created your Advocacy Headquarters page, you then select which LGBT equality issues are most important to you. Selections include marriage, housing, military, employment rights, parenting, along with a number of others.

Below is a snapshot of what I ranked but honestly, they are all important to me.

Screen shot 2010-12-05 at 2.27.01 PM.pngOnce you rank what rights are most important to you, you then have the opportunity to upload a self-made video to tell everyone why having equal rights matters. I haven't done the video yet because I'm camera shy...but it is on the agenda of things to do in the future.

Why We Need Friendfactor

This past Thursday, I attended the Friendfactor fundraiser in New York City. Standing in a room with hundreds of other gays and their supportive friends further illustrated to me that none of us in the LGBT community are in this alone.

In 2009, I played an active role in the fight for LGBT equality in New York state. I served as one of the co-chairs for the Empire State Pride Agenda's OffSprung! program. The program is designed to engage the next generation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leaders and straight allies in advocacy, networking and volunteerism. In 2009, the group worked relentlessly to raise money and awareness for LGBT equal rights in New York and to encourage participation from our gay and straight peers.

At the time, it felt like we were closer than ever to obtaining marriage equality in New York, but alas, the bill was voted down in the senate. During this time, getting straight friends to participate in the fight for equal rights was the most difficult for me. I was nervous to ask them to do something because I feared rejection. Not rejection of being gay but rejection of them informing me that they didn't have the time to help.

Now, Friendfactor makes it easy for the LGBT community's straight friends to get involved. With just a few clicks, the LGBT community can reach and engage their straight friends to take actions on the issues that matter to them most. Friendfactor serves to educate, connect and engage our straight allies in the fight for equal rights. The site contains useful stats and information to educate our straight friends on the current state of LGBT equality and offers ways in which they can get involved.

So if you're straight and you have gay friends that are fighting to get legally married then Friendfactor is for you. If you're straight and you don't want to serve in the military but your gay friend does then Friendfactor is for you. If you're a parent and it pains you to see your gay friends scrambling to figure out how they can conceive or adopt a child then Friendfactor is for you too.

The discriminations against the LGBT community are many but the actions that our straight friends can take to help us obtain equal rights are numerous as well. The nation is ready for change and Friendfactor, (thank you social media!), is going to help us get there - faster. Remember, the LGBT equality movement isn't just for gay people!

Support me on Friendfactor today! Click here to access my Advocacy Headquarters page.

To learn more about Friendfactor, please visit the following:


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Great idea.

We need to educate, enlighten and enroll. This is a good step in that direction.

As Jonathan Rauch said in The Advocate:

"American homosexuals and our allies are entering a new and unprecedented phase. For the first time, we are emerging into majority status."

We need people to join us and support our full equality. Start counting ...

Link: http://advocate.com/Politics/Commentary/The_Majority_Report/

Thanks for taking the time to comment Andrew. I agree, I couldn't be more pleased that a social networking site was formed to help us obtain equal rights faster.

Just last year, I remember there were all those Facebook fan pages that said, "1,000,000 Strong for Marriage Equality" but they didn't do anything. I fanned about 6 of them but I've never been asked to take action on any of them. I love that Brian Elliot has found a way to take this same idea and put it into its own social media platform. I truly believe this social networking site will revolutionize how we fight for equality.

I wonder how popular the site will be. It's a great idea, I just wonder if it will be used.

Excellent concern Bil. The site is currently in Beta and hasn't worked out all the kinks yet. From what I understand, Friendfactor is holding off on promoting the site until it feels that the technical kinks are worked out.

The site was just listed as one of Yahoo's top 10 most "Inspiring Acts" of 2010. So there is some momentum behind this project.

http://yearinreview.yahoo.com/2010/us_inspiring_acts#6friendfactor

Social media sites are always tricky as you have to really rely on members of the community to make it successful. If people aren't signing up and inviting their friends to join, then it won't be a success. True, it's not as seamless as Facebook but I'm sure one day it could get there if we let it. Remember all the sore spots that Facebook hit when it was just starting out? You could only see friends, a profile pic and get some random info like where they live and what they're interested in. Just a few years later, Facebook has become the most amazing space for social connectivity with our peers. You can know anything and everything for just about everyone in your online community.

For me, Friendfactor is the first attempt to create an environment where members of the community can sign-up and invite their friends to join their own campaign for equality. I've tried this via Facebook a number of times but getting straight allies, at least for me, motivated to do something has always been the biggest hurdle.

Maybe this site won't fix this issue, but at least someone is trying something. That alone is enough motivation for me to want to sign up and encourage my friends to join. Again, a site like this won't be a success unless we help it get there.

Another smart idea:

www.AllOut.org