Since 1993, SONG has been known, both regionally and nationally, for its organizing and training work across issues of race, class, gender, culture and sexuality with both LGBTQ people and allies. We work to build and maintain a Southern LGBTQ infrastructure for organizers strong enough to combat the Southern-specific strategy of the Right to divide and conquer Southern oppressed communities using the tools of rural isolation, Right-wing Christian infrastructure, racism, environmental degradation, and economic oppression. We formed to build understanding of the connections between issues and oppressions, do multi-racial organizing, and develop strong relationships between people who could and should be allies. During our life as an organization we have learned that movement building requires grassroots organizing, leadership development, deep analysis, listening/data collection, inter-generational relationships, the linking of social movements, and good long-term planning. Some of SONG’s major accomplishments include: crafting the first-ever Southern, LGBTQ-led, traveling Organizing School for small towns and rural places all over the South; training over 100 Southern and national racial and economic justice organizations to integrate work around homophobia and transphobia into their work; holding over 50 Southern sub-regional retreats for Southern Queer People of Color; continuing to be one of the only LGBTQ organizations in the US that truly listens, responds, and represents LGBTQ folk in small towns and rural places; and in 2008 holding the largest gathering specifically for Southern LGBTQ organizers in the last 10 years. Most recently, the coalition-strong campaign in GA where SONG was central in winning an injunction against a key aspect of HB 87 (Arizona copy cat laws), wherein ‘harboring of illegal aliens’ was made punishable by law for individuals and organizations.
Long-term goals of SONG are to build, drive, amplify, and support Southern inter-sectional movement work thru regional capacity building, leadership development, and organizing. All of our work centers the shared interest of women, LGBTQ people, people of color, and immigrants—in who we are as SONG’s leadership and membership, and the analysis and work we create. We start at the place of lifting barriers and breaking the isolation that prevents people from participating fully in economic, social, and political life through creating an organizational home for LGBTQ Southern organizing and LGBTQ Southern people. This creates a space for Southern LGBTQ people to enter a political home: a space for understanding conditions and patterns, building analysis, and organizing. From this space, we grow the work of liberation.