LGBTQ+ Advocacy 101: Myths About Contacting Your Lawmakers

Legislators need to hear from LGBTQ+ people like you—but calling or emailing your lawmaker can feel scary or overwhelming. In this 5 minute video, grassroots advocate, lobbyist, and former US Senate Staffer Bethany Snyder dispels common myths about advocacy and shares how you can get more involved.

Myth: “If I’m not an expert on LGBTQ+ issues, I shouldn’t talk to my lawmaker.”

You don’t need to do research to understand the impact of discrimination on LGBTQ+ people. We’re all experts on our own lived experience—all you need to do is share why this issue matters to you.

If you want more in-depth, up-to-date information about issues in your area, sign up for Family Equality’s action alerts. As issues around LGBTQ+ families arise, we will email you tools and scripts that can help streamline your advocacy efforts.

Myth: “I’m just one person. My lawmaker won’t listen to me.”

Democracy relies on constituents engaging with the process. Lawmakers get their jobs because people like you elected them, and people like you will decide if they get re-elected. This means that you are their boss: it is their job to listen and respond to the people they represent.

Also, because lawmakers keep track of how many people call them and what issues they’re talking about, your call contributes to a larger tally that will help them understand what their constituents need.

Myth: “My lawmaker already has a position, so I’m not going to change their mind!”

Lawmakers need to know that LGBTQ+ people live in their communities. Too often when making a decision that negatively impacts the LGBTQ+ community, lawmakers argue that they didn’t hear from anyone. They might even say that LGBTQ+ people don’t live in their district. Don’t let them off the hook by giving them this excuse—we live everywhere and we need to hold them accountable for the choices they make.

This is also the reason why lawmakers who do support the LGBTQ+ community need to hear from you. By calling your lawmaker and thanking them for standing with the LGBTQ+ community, you ensure that they will continue to support the community in the future.

Myth: “Contacting my lawmaker takes too long. I don’t have the time for this!”

Calling, emailing, or writing to your lawmaker shouldn’t take longer than five minutes. By signing up for our action alerts, you will gain access to easy-to-use tools with pre-written emails and phone scripts ready when an LGBTQ+ issue pops up in your community.

Even without a pre-written script, calling can be as quick as giving your name and your zip code, explaining why you’re calling, and sharing in one or two sentences why the issue matters to you. These staffers are also busy and don’t have a lot of time to engage either.

Myth: “I’m just going to end up talking to an intern. Does that even count?”

Elected officials rarely answer their own phones and emails because they’re busy voting, meeting with people, and getting other important work done. Especially at the federal level, you will be speaking to staffers or interns.

This is a good thing. While an elected official’s job spans many roles, a staffer’s job is to meet with and talk to people like you! These are the people who will be responsible for briefing your lawmaker anyway, so it’s important to ensure that they share your concerns.

Want to get involved in local and federal LGBTQ+ issues?

Bethany Snyder is an advocacy strategist, enthusiast, and optimist. With over 15 years of experience in communications, advocacy, and public affairs, Bethany is an expert in managing strategic communications, leading success advocacy initiatives, and running high-profile campaigns. She is the founder of Snyder Strategies, and she is a close friend of Family Equality.