Words by Smiley Team
In collaboration with Showtime Networks Inc, the Queer to Stay initiative focuses on businesses that are owned by, or support and empower, members of the LGBTQ+ community, women and people of colour.
It was initially started to help LGBTQ+ businesses make it through the pandemic, and in an attempt to prevent the decline of LGBTQ+ spaces across America.
In its first year, the initiative was able to support 10 LGBTQ+ businesses with a grant, which was doubled to 20 in 2021.
Now, in 2022, Queer to Stay’s budget has been increased to $250,000, which is going to be distributed between at least 25 LGBTQ+ businesses.
"It is absolutely remarkable that we are about to kick-off our third year of the ‘Queer to Stay’ initiative," said Joni Madison, Human Rights Campaign Interim President.
"What an incredible opportunity to support LGBTQ+ businesses and recognize their impact in communities across the country. Creating and cultivating spaces for the LGBTQ+ community requires all of us and this continued partnership with Showtime is a three-time example of a company putting the rubber to the road to uplift the LGBTQ+ community during these challenging times."
This brilliant support scheme will enable LGBTQ+ businesses to stay open under the remaining pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, and gentrification. The application process for 2022 closes at 11:59pm on August 31 2022, and can be found on the HRC website.
DONATE: Donate to charities like Stonewall who advocate for LGBTQ+ people.
GET INVOLVED: Support the Human Rights Campaign by showing up to community events.