LGBTQ + Businesses and Advocates in Eugene Showcase Beyond Pride Month

This June marks more than 50 years of LGBTQ + pride marches and celebrations in the United States, with more emphasis on sexuality and gender in Lane County.

Increased visibility around Pride gives businesses, social media, and communities rainbows and the opportunity to come forward for the LGBTQ + community, but it can be difficult to know exactly how to do it.

“What does it mean to show up for pride? Asked Oblio Stroyman. Stroyman’s pronouns are they / their / their and they are the interim executive director of Transponder, a local nonprofit organization that serves the transgender community.

“The pride was really about a lot of trans women of color standing up and saying that was enough (against) police harassment,” they explained.

What Stroyman specifically refers to is resistance from the queer community led largely by trans and gender non-conforming people of color like Marsha P. Johnson, Silvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy and Stormé DeLarverie – who were all in attendance at one of the most notable booths for LGBTQ + liberation, the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

In the early morning of June 28, plainclothes police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York. The intrusion was, at the time, justified by suspicion of illegal alcohol sales, but was in reality just another raid among many aimed at harassing LGBTQ + people, according to the report. Library of Congress. This led to six days of protest around town.

Thirteen people, a mix of employees and customers, were arrested for operating without a liquor license, but also for gender-related “crimes”. Homosexuality was still considered a criminal offense in 1969 and there were laws prohibiting wearing gender-appropriate clothing.

Less well-known, Stonewall was preceded by other LGBTQ + resistance led by blacks and people of color in the United States, including protests at the Gene’s Compton cafeteria, Cooper’s Donuts, The Black Cat, Dewey’s Restaurant, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

In short, the pride started out as a protest; a stance against police brutality and a fight for basic civil rights.

“If we see pride not only as a celebration, but also as a very real connection to the struggles of LGBTQ + people, especially trans people, then look at how you can support organizations to make their lives a bit easier,” Stroyman says to be an ally.

50 years ago, LGBTQ seniors fought for many of the same rights they fight for today: equal access to jobs, housing, health care and juridic protection.

Currently the Equality Act is on an uncertain basis before Congress. It would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by prohibiting “discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as public housing and facilities, education, federal funding, employment. , housing, credit and the jury system ”.

Effective ways for allies to show support

If any allies are looking to support the LGBTQ community, Stroyman encourages them to dig deeper to be intentional.

It might look like showing solidarity at pride events, holding institutions accountable, and asking questions of companies that might seek to profit from “rainbow gear” without any of the profits. is not donated to LGBTQ people or organizations, they explained.

A current social media trend has exposed large companies to the ‘rainbow wash’ or ‘pink wash,’ terms that mean using Pride for marketing purposes to make money from LGBTQ consumers and their families. allies.

AT&T, General Motors, The Coca-Cola Company, Anheuser-Busch, American Airlines, Walmart and others have been found to have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to representatives working on anti-LGBTQ legislation, according to Rolling Stone.

In contrast, philanthropic dollars spent on LGBTQ issues are still limited. The Funders for LGBTQ Issues have found that for every $ 100 donated by US foundations, only 28 cents goes specifically to support the LGBTQ community.

Transponder funding, for example, goes to support groups, helping to find employment opportunities and making the community a more welcoming place. Some of Transponder’s programs include accessibility of gender-affirming prosthetics, syringe and hormone injection delivery service, and MECCA art kits.

“What’s important about Transponder is that we have a very low capacity, which means we don’t have a lot of paid staff and we do a huge job,” Stroyman said.

Be intentional with your dollars

Supporting gay-led businesses and organizations that advocate for the rights and well-being of LGBTQ + people beyond Pride Month is one way to be intentional with your dollar as an ally.

“We really love plants and share it with other people, but we also really wanted to use our business as a source of positive change in the community,” said Luna Roebuck, co-owner of Stingray Botanicals.

Roebuck opened Stingray Botanicals with his partner, Adrian Mendoza, in the fall of 2020. The indoor plant nursery specializes in rare plants and is committed to social, economic and environmental justice.

“A big part of this is standing up for our community members within the LGBTQ community. We try to do advocacy work by bringing attention to the issues facing minority communities, therefore the LGBTQ community, communities of color, immigrant communities, ”Roebuck said. .

This month, a portion of Stingray Botanicals sales are donated to Point of pride, a non-profit organization in Eugene that works internationally to help trans adults and youth access gender affirmation programs. This includes access to chest binders, hormones, electrolysis, and COVID-19 emergency funds.

According to its website, Point of Pride has donated more than 10,000 chest binders in more than 80 countries and provided financial assistance of a quarter of a million dollars.

“One very important thing that people need to think about during Pride Month – and really all year round – is where your dollar is going and what the organization or business is doing with your dollar, in addition to just show off the rainbow, ”Roebuck said.

But beyond economic intentionality, the visibility of queer and LGBT + safe spaces is important.

“Having visibility as a gay owned, gay operated business gives a lot of people hope for what they can do in their own lives, or providing safe spaces for people to do. shopping, or to browse and enjoy the plants, ”Roebuck explained.

Lane County LGBTQ-Owned Businesses and Advocates

Spectrum is a Bar, restaurant and LGBTQIA + room at 150 W. Broadway in downtown Eugene, which should reopen after July. Spectrum is home to many drag performances and a key location for community support services.

As you like it; The pleasure shop is a sexual wellness store with a focus on environmentally friendly and body-safe products. AYLI offers a separate part of their store that is suitable for minors that includes an extensive library and gender affirming products.

Transponder is a local non-profit organization founded and managed by trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people. The group coordinates community resources and provides support to adults and trans youth in metropolitan and rural areas of Lane County. Transponder offers descriptions of Pride programs and products online.

Stingray Botanicals is a houseplant store specializing in the unique and the unusual which is owned and operated by a couple, Adrian Mendoza and Luna Roebuck. Mendoza and Roebuck are dedicated to social justice in the community and provide a caring place to work.

Hi neighbor! Homemade Pizza is a local restaurant in the university district offering hand-prepared neo-Neapolitan pizza. The pizzeria uses its passion for pies to contribute to the community. The last weekend of June, Hey Neighbor! will donate a portion of each pizza sale to Transponder.

HIV Alliance provides extensive resources for HIV / AIDS education, prevention and care. They also provide care for hepatitis and help with harm reduction efforts. This summer, they welcome Camp Alliance, a virtual summer program for young people for queer high school students or questioners.

The body store is an international cosmetics brand with a store in Valley River Center. It is donate $ 1 to Equality Federation for each signature on their petition telling Congress to support the equality law until August 29. The Federation for Equality is an accelerator of LGBTQ advocacy.

Contact reporter Dana Sparks at or 541-338-2243, and follow her on Twitter @danamsparks and Instagram @danasparksphoto. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.

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