Glad you are here, and I think you'll find it a very enlightening experience!
Lifestyle is more appropriate when considering the type of car you drive, house you live in, career, having kids or not, what types of vacations you take, etc. Would you consider being straight your lifestyle? Probably not.
My sexual orientation is a part of who I am, much like my hair color, eye color, body type, left brain/right brain, etc. My sexuality isn't chosen, it's inherently a part of my physiology. My choice is being in a relationship with someone. I chose to be in that relationship with that person. But I can't help myself, I am attracted to women (yup, I'm female).
The Equality Ride came about in an effort to open dialogue between participants and those working for/attending colleges which have a negative stance on GLBT students. Life is difficult enough at that age, without students feeling unsafe and having to hide. Parents have been known to stop funding their child's college after he/she came out. Students have been kicked out of schools, kicked out of their homes. Some even commit suicide over all this.
Most of these schools (if not all) enjoy some federal funding, and I don't want my money going to a school that oppresses GLBT students (or any students). They also enjoy some major tax breaks, again costing me tax money to pay for services/things that their tax money could have paid for. Just another aspect to it.
"Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation."
Coretta Scott King