The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Showtime announced the 20 recipients of "Queer to Stay: An LGBTQ+ Business Preservation Initiative" to support and uplift small businesses that focus on LGBTQ+ people of color, women and the transgender community, and have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two Chicago businesses (Rebirth Garments and Roscoe's Tavern) were among the recipients.
Rebirth Garmentsfounded by non-binary, queer and disabled Filipinx designer Sky Cubacubcreates gender non-conforming wearables and accessories for people on the full spectrum of gender, size and ability. Roscoe's Tavern is a Northalsted/Boystown bar/dance club that has been around for decades.
"It is crucial to preserve affirming, welcoming spaces and services for LGBTQ+ people. This initiative celebrates and supports the community by identifying and donating to multiply marginalized LGBTQ+ owned, and serving, small businesses around the country," said Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Nicole Cozier in a statement. "We have been living through a public health crisis for far longer than we ever could have imagined, without a clear end in sight, which has only compounded the financial inequities small LGBTQ+ businesses face. We are thrilled to work with SHOWTIME once again to ensure that LGBTQ+ patrons, employees and business owners continue to occupy spaces freely, openly and as their authentic selves."
Some of the other grant recipients include Arledge Comics (Port Orchard, Washington), TAGG Magazine (Washington, D.C.), Club OMG (San Francisco), Ellen D. Management (Los Angeles), Stuzo Clothing (Los Angeles) and Cowlick (Brooklyn).
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020, the inaugural "Queer to Stay" initiative awarded funds to 10 LGBTQ+ businesses across the country. Over the past 18 months, LGBTQ+ businesses have continued to suffer due to the continued need for on-and-off shutdowns and limited capacity regulations, which is why the Human Rights Campaign and SHOWTIME have doubled the program to support 20 businesses in its second year.