Happy Pride Month to everyone!
Whether you are LGBTQ+, a family member, or a friend and ally, this month provides us all a chance to celebrate the many contributions of LGBTQ+ Americans and reflect on the struggles that too many people still face.
Many link the modern Gay Rights Movement to June 1969. That is when a group of LGBTQ+ folks said "enough is enough." After repeated harassment for nothing more than having a drink with friends at bar, a group of people, many trans, stood up for their rights at the Stonewall Inn. The location in New York City is now a National Historic Monument.
We love history!
The Making Gay History podcast tells the story of many who made gay history in their own words.
In a recent Presidential Proclamation, "The uprising at the Stonewall Inn in June, 1969, sparked a liberation movement — a call to action that continues to inspire us to live up to our Nation’s promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all. Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought — and continue to fight — for full equality. Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity. This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice."
One way that we celebrate PRIDE month at ANTIDOTE is by supporting the Open to All campaign. ANTIDOTE 1848 was among the first who proudly joined businesses like Levi's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Ben & Jerry's, Tiffany &Co, and Marriott in support of being Open to All. Today hundreds of thousands of businesses across America have taken the open to all pledge.
"Open to All is a nonprofit nondiscrimination campaign that believes everyone should be welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, religion, or disability. We believe we all have something to contribute. We believe we can all learn from one another. We believe that when we work together, when we value our employees, when we care for our customers and one another, we all thrive."
This year, Open to All is focusing on supporting front line staff. You know, the folks who, during the pandemic, stocked our grocery shelves, checked us out at drug stores, delivered our packages, kept our clinics and nursing homes open, and kept restaurants going. During the pandemic, front line workers put themselves at risk every day to serve all of us. They also took the lead in informing customers about health measures like mask wearing. And, they took the heat from a frustrated and irate public, too often in the form of insults and assault. Not cool!
Our favorite part of the toolkit is Hollaback! Harassment and Bystander Training. This tool provides valuable tips on what to do when your standing in line and see harassment in action. "We believe that everyone deserves the resources to respond to, prevent, and intervene in instances of harassment. We have proven methodologies in the areas of bystander intervention, conflict de-escalation, harassment prevention, and resilience."
Like Samantha Hatch, HR Business Partner, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, says, "The tools are simple, yet wildly effective, and gives employees the confidence to feel like they can do something when they see disrespectful behavior or harassment."
How did Open to All get started?
A few years ago a son invited his mom to help him and his fiancé pick out a wedding cake. The mom, Debbie, shared her excitement in a recent TIME magazine essay. Debbie described that her son finding the love of his life was “a source of great joy for me” - how pleased she was to be part of planning the hometown reception. Her son invited Debbie to join the couple in Colorado to shop for a cake for their wedding reception. "Like so many mothers before me, I was honored and excited to be a part of this step.”
The couple did their research, chose a design, flavors, and colors. With Mom along for the ride, the couple arrived at the bakery for their scheduled appointment full of joy and excitement.
What was meant to be a fun and routine part of the wedding planning process turned into a nightmare.
Debbie, shared what took place next. “We walked into the bakery for our appointment. We were motioned to a small table inside the bakery. The owner looked at [us] and [said] that he would not sell [us] a wedding cake [and] would not bake one for [us].”
The baker refused to serve them because Debbie’s son was marrying another man; he would not sell a cake to a same-sex couple.
This situation could happen to anyone. Over 40% of Americans have a close friend or family member who is gay, according to the Pew Research Center.
Why not just go to another baker?
What happens when the person refusing the service is a gas station, bank, insurance company, restaurant, or funeral home. More importantly, once it is ok to single one group out, what’s keeping others from being refused service.
After all, Colorado law states “It is unlawful for a person … to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual … because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities … of a place of public accommodation.”
In order to prevent this from happening to others, the couple decided to take the baker to court. While they won in Colorado court, the case was appealed to the Supreme court. Last month, the court ruled in favor of the baker due to a technicality but stated that “the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples.”
The “Open to all” campaign supports the notion that people should be free to go about their day-to-day lives without fear of being turned away from businesses simply because of who they are. The campaign is about treating people the way we want to be treated.
Happy PRIDE to everyone!
-- Abigail + David
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