A   C o m p r e h e n s i v e   M a n u a l
administration.  Sometimes a group starts
pose.  If you can not clearly articulate
out as a coming out support group, or a
your mission or purpose then it will be
social group, but at some point moves
difficult for all your members to move in
more towards activism.  What happens
the same direction.  The book of Proverbs
when the focus changes and new mem 
says,   Where there is no vision, the peo 
bers have one need and old members'
ple perish.   While this might seem a bit
needs have changed?  Again, it is good to
extreme in this context, the concept is one
think about both who is currently part of
to think about.  In order for your group to
your group and who your potential mem 
function in a healthy manner, to get
bers are.
things accomplished, to all pull in the
same direction, and to thrive over the
No matter what you decide, you should
long haul, you must have a vision or
always be sensitive to the coming out
visions.  Many groups have developed
process of each individual.  Nobody
mission statements to express their pur 
should be "outed" before they decide for
pose.  The mission statement is usually
themselves that it is time.  When you are
broad and not tied to particular goals,
insensitive to other people's coming out
strategies or tactics.  However if the state 
process, not only do you end up hurting
ment is too broad or far reaching it may
them, but you will, in the long run, hurt
be nothing more than useless rhetoric.  It
your group.  Nobody is going to want to
is important to strike a balance.  Mission
join or be part of a group that they can t
statements also are inspiring and help to
trust.  The issue of confidentiality in lgbt
galvanize people into action. For exam 
groups is an important one.  It is impor 
tant not to make assumptions about any 
one.  Just because someone is out and
active in one setting doesn t mean that
they are out in every setting.  It is best to
err on the side of caution and ask each
individual what they want.
In this section we focus on answering the
question, what are you going to do to
meet the needs you have identified?  Now
that you know who you are, and why you
are what you are, you need to know
WHAT you are going to do to get there.
You need to have a mission for what you
Our mission is to:  
Foster understanding
want to accomplish.  You also need to set
and to reduce fear, prejudice, and dis 
concrete goals and have a plan for meet 
crimination toward lesbians, gay men,
ing those goals.
bisexual men and women, and transgen 
der people through a community wide,
media oriented public education pro 
In order for a group to be effective, it
must have a sense of mission and pur 
D e f i n i n g   Y o u r   G r o u p
M     9


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