pride month: In this section of the Craft Brewers Guide to Cultural Celebrationsyou’ll find a brief history of pride month, a set of considerations to help you avoid rainbow washing, suggestions and recommendations for your commemoration or celebration, and a set of useful links.
Pride Month provides an opportunity for craft brewers to recognize and commemorate an important historic moment in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) rights movement in the United States. Although the US Census Bureau does not currently include information on sexual orientation in the census, recent efforts to quantify America’s LGBTQ+ community estimate that between 5.8% and 8% of the adult population identifies as LGBTQ+. Efforts to create a community and visibility like that of Hop Culture Queer Oktoberfestthe Queers making beers homebrew club, and the international Queer Brewing Project suggest that a significant number of those 13-20 million adults are also enthusiastic members of the craft brewing community.
As with any other cultural celebration, it is important to celebrate Pride Month with thoughtful intention, sensitivity, and respect. Without it, craft brewers could find themselves engaging in “rainbow wash“- when a company publicly shows its support for the LGBTQ+ community (for example, by labeling a product with a rainbow flag), but engages in everyday practices that are indifferent, insensitive, or even harmful to those who identify as LGBTQ+.
This entry to Craft Brewers Guide to Cultural Celebrations will guide you in your efforts to observe Pride Month in a way that is inclusive, respectful and appropriate for your brewery.
What is Pride Month?
Pride Month is celebrated each June to honor the Stonewall Uprising, which occurred at the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village. Until 1966, it was illegal in New York State to serve alcohol to a gay person, and in 1969, the year of the Stonewall uprising, homosexuality was considered a crime. Gay bars, like the Stonewall Inn, often operated in secret and without a liquor license, leaving them open to raids and sometimes police brutality.
On June 28, the Stonewall Inn was raided. Most of the people inside were either drag queens or gay people of color. As people inside the bar began to retaliate against the officers using excessive force, protesters gathered outside the hostel. The days-long confrontation that followed galvanized an LGBTQ+ rights movement in resistance to decades of discrimination, abuse, harassment and injustice.
The first Gay Pride march was held in Central Park the following year and launched what would become a global celebration of LGBTQ+ rights. According to documents archived at Library of Congress“there were between three and five thousand marchers when Pride first took place in New York, and today marchers in New York number in the millions. Since 1970, LGBTQ+ people have continued to gather in June to march with Pride and demonstrate for equal rights.
Main Information Elements
- Pride Month is held every June in memory of the original Stonewall Riots and the first Pride March the following year. However, it is also important to note that a some other LGBT-related resistance events happened before Stonewall.
- Two key figures, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Riveria, are commemorated with a monument in New York near the Stonewall Inn, which was declared a national monument in 2016.
- The colors of the rainbow flag reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and the spectrum of human sexuality and gender. The symbol of the flag is equal rights and acceptance around the world. Gilbert Baker designed the original flag in 1978 with pink representing sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic, blue for harmony and purple for spirit. The updated flag most commonly seen today also includes black and brown stripes to recognize LGBTQ+ people of color and pink, white and blue stripes, which are the colors of the transgender pride flag. Today, there are many variations of the pride flag, each existing to represent and celebrate different gender identities.
- March 31, 2022 – Transgender Awareness Day
- April 14, 2022 – Lesbian Visibility Day
- July 14, 2022 – Non-Binary People’s Day
- October is LGBTQ+ History Month, a 31-day celebration to honor the achievements and influence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people around the world, and a time to learn more about the history of rights LGBTQ+
- October 11, 2022 – National Coming Out Day
- November 20, 2022 – Transgender Day of Remembrance
Observe Pride Month at your brewery
Considerations for your Pride celebration
Be sure to read the introduction to this guide. It presents a list of questions to consider before celebrating any cultural observance. And remember, the celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and the fight for LGBTQ+ rights doesn’t have to start and end in June. Think about how you can support this community throughout the year!
find the right tone
While Pride Month can sometimes feel like a party (and it certainly is a celebration), it’s important to remember that it’s also a cultural event whose advocacy is at the base. Pride month commemorates a rebellion against unjust systems, prejudice and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. As you celebrate Pride Month, take the opportunity to promote justice and unity.
Start with internal efforts
The key to avoiding the rainbow wash is to lead internal efforts to support and create visibility for the LGBTQ+ community. Without internal efforts to support your Pride-themed events, beer releases, and merchandise, your Pride Month celebrations are little more than window dressing.
- Assess your internal policies, education and training on discrimination and harassment. Update them as necessary to include issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community to create a more inclusive work environment.
- Make your company an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and educate your staff on the importance of recognizing, supporting and standing alongside the LGBTQ+ community.
- Organize an inclusion workshop for your team. Multiply the impact by inviting other local businesses and key stakeholders in your community.
Follow up with external efforts
Leverage internal efforts by integrating LGBTQ+ community education and celebrations into events, beer releases, merchandise, and more.
- Partner with your local LGBTQ+ Pride chapter or other LGBTQ+ affirmation organization to host events in your community (onsite and offsite) that support Pride Month. Allow those who defend the community day in and day out to lead.
- Create a beer collab or special outing to generate exposure, conversations, or fundraise for an LGBTQ+ cause of your choice. Spend enough time researching potential partner organizations to ensure they match your company’s values.
- Use a “round up” scheme to prompt customers to round their check totals up to the next dollar and donate the change to a charity related to the LGBTQ+ community.
- Use your quiz night to educate visitors about Pride Month or the LGBTQ+ community by adding a “Pride Month” category or questions.
- Use your social media to build awareness of your Pride Month efforts. Make sure that all of your efforts to showcase members of the LGBTQ+ community present people as whole, complex individuals and not just “mascots” for the LGBTQ+ community.
The importance of event security
For those planning events during Pride Month, it’s essential that you create safe and inclusive spaces for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. Clearly set out expectations for the conduct of your employees, vendors, volunteers and visitors by posting codes of conduct on event websites, signage or on the back of badges. Provide a way for those who experience or observe misconduct to report it. The Brewers Association is offering member discounts for subscriptions to two third-party reporting services.
Grace Weitz, Managing Editor for Hop cultivation and Founder of the Beers Without Beard and Queer Beer Festivals say, “I think improving festival safety is one of the most crucial parts of any craft beer event, whether you’re a social event like BW(O)B and Queer Beer or simply a neighborhood craft beer showcase.Creating environments where everyone, regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, race, religion, background, physical appearance, height , age or other characteristics, feeling safe is paramount in a festival environment Developing a comprehensive festival code of conduct and partnering with organizations like #NotME or Safe Bars should be the norm for the future of the industry.