This booklet was organized and written after I had been to one too many activist sessions,where the organizers talked about the need for people to go meet with their legislators,yet, they had no instructions on how to do that exactly. If you look around the web, thereare a number of resources out there, but not everyone wants to research and learn how todo something before what might, for many, seem intimidating and difficult. In myexperience, many people at trainings say that yes, they want to go and meet with their elected official, but few follow through and do it. So I decided to create this manual withthe hopes that it provides enough information and motivation for you to reach out and begin to work with your elected official.Also, I had written a large number of blog posts on this subject, as well as details aboutLGBT legislation such as non-discrimination protections, and hate crimes legislation, andfelt I could repurpose that content in an easy to download format such as this booklet.Additionally, I had begun to meet with a number of elected officials, and I also spokewith many others who had had such meetings, and I was able to begin to determine whatworked and what didn’t.In every advocacy training session I attended, it was inevitable that the statement would be made, “ There is just too much information that you won’t be able to get all of it inthis training.” Every time I heard that, I knew why few people follow through andactually meet with their elected officials. The goals for meeting were being over shadowed by some unreachable idea of having
the perfect meeting
. But there is no suchthing, and these trainings may keep people from getting engaged, rather than get themmotivated. So, I wrote this guide to articulate the real purpose of meeting with your elected official, and provide all of the tools you need to have a truly successful meeting.A perfect meeting may be impossible, but the truly successful meeting is somethingeveryone can accomplish.While this guide was first intended for use in Pennsylvania, surrounding LGBT issuessuch as non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation, the steps outlined here areapplicable to every state, and any type of issue. However, meeting with your electedofficial isn’t about issues really. It is about creating a real and ongoing relationship between you and that official, so that he or she knows who you are, what’s important toyou, and how legislation has a direct impact on you and those around you.