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Last summer, as the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its grip on businesses across the United States, causing an estimated 200,000+ to permanently shutter, Showtime partnered with the Human Rights Campaign on “Queer to Stay: An LGBTQ+ Business Preservation Initiative.” The effort provided a lifeline to 10 struggling businesses that serve the community with an emphasis on businesses that were owned by or served to empower LGBTQ people of color, women and the transgender community.
To coincide with Pride month in June, Showtime and HRC are teaming again for the second annual “Queer to Stay” but this year, the program is expanding to help 20 businesses while also offering a crowdfunding feature for consumers to support the initiative through the end of 2021. Said Showtime’s chief marketing officer Michael Engleman: “Since the pandemic began, it’s been remarkable to see how different communities have come together to support each other in a time of crisis. In addition to the larger number of awardees this year, it was only natural for us to expand the initiative to incorporate a crowdfunding aspect, allowing friends and neighbors to support these essential LGBTQ+ spaces.”
Added HRC president Alphonso David: “The LGBTQ community is proven to be disproportionately impacted in almost all facets of society, compounding the importance of preserving and celebrating LGBTQ spaces.”
Eligible businesses can apply at queertostay.org through July 31. The 2020 beneficiaries included New York’s Alibi Lounge (New York), Amplio Fitness (Rocky River, Ohio), Blush & Blu (Denver), Doyenne (Charlotte, North Carolina), El Rio (San Francisco), Freed Bodyworks (Washington, D.C.), Herz (Mobile, Alabama), My Sister’s Room (Atlanta), Pearl Bar (Houston), and Salon Benders (Long Beach).
This story first appeared in the June 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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