(Photo via HRC)
ST. PETERSBURG | The Human Rights Campaign and Showtime announced Nov. 9 that Blaque/OUT Magazine has been named as a 2023 beneficiary of “Queer to Stay,” their LGBTQ+ business preservation initiative.
“Queer to Stay” launched in 2020 to address financial hardships during the pandemic. Now in its fourth year, the partnership has provided a total of $750,000 in funding to marginalized businesses nationwide like Blaque/OUT, which “centers Black Queer excellence through their monthly digital issues” in and beyond Tampa Bay.
The initiative also works to combat a rise in anti-LGBTQ+ extremism, hateful rhetoric and targeted attacks that threaten the livelihood of business owners and the existence of safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people. A total of 25 businesses were recognized this year across 19 states.
“As LGBTQ+ Americans navigate a national state of emergency, LGBTQ+ owned businesses are confronting extremists who are trying to threaten our lives and livelihoods, push us out of our communities and force us back into the closet,” HRC President Kelley Robinson said in a press release.
“We’re fighting back against anti-LGBTQ+ radicals and solidifying our place in cities across the country,” she continued. “We’re so excited to partner with Showtime once again to support LGBTQ+ employees and business owners as they continue to create inclusive spaces and brighten their communities.”
“We care deeply about empowering all voices within the LGBTQ+ community and are proud to continue investing in LGBTQ+ businesses in partnership with HRC for the fourth year,” added Puja Vohra, EVP of Consumer Marketing, Paramount+ and Showtime. “In addition to financially supporting a diverse mix of LGBTQ+ establishments across the nation — including a clinic, restaurants, bars and shops — we’re expanding access to resources to help sustain their necessary footprints and broaden their impact.”
Blaque/OUT Founder and Editor Tamara Leigh noted in a press release that “every single writer, contributor and person whose story we tell is Black or Brown, Queer or Trans.” The outlet serves as “a home for Black, Brown and Trans stories” and works to “inspire readers to find their truths and be their authentic selves.”
Leigh also reflected on the recognition in an email to supporters, noting that they have readers and writers around the world.
“Although our homebase is now St. Petersburg, Florida, Blaque/OUT is proud to be born and raised in Rochester, New York!” she wrote. “Our first love, our first activism & advocacy, our first writers & readers were Rochesterians and in Rochester. We will continue to work hard to make wherever home is a more inclusive and safer space for all of us!
“Thank you to all of our readers for keeping us relevant & growing,” she concluded, “but more than ANYTHING, thank you to our incredible creative team and family who have allowed us to tell their stories for 3 years!!”
Additional “Queer to Stay” awardees this year include LGBTQ+-owned bars, clothing companies, health clinics and more. Learn more about each below:
Blaque/OUT also shared the news via social media:
In addition to this month’s digital edition of Blaque/OUT, the organization will also lead a two-part virtual Transgender Day of Remembrance event Nov. 20. Participants will meet via Zoom to reflect on lives lost to anti-transgender violence and discuss “the legislative, social and socio-economic challenges that face the Trans community as they navigate life and visibility in an often-unaccepting world.” For more information, click here.