Please Help Me Win $10K to Grow Queerency! (The Balance Sheet: May 14, 2023)

I'm a finalist for a really big media and journalism startup competition where I could win $10K to grow Queerency! My goal for Queerency has always been to cover the LGBTQ economy with dignity and depth, but I need your help to continue bringing that vision to fruition.

Please Help Me Win $10K to Grow Queerency! (The Balance Sheet: May 14, 2023)

Good news: I'm a finalist for a really big media and journalism startup competition where I could win $10K to grow Queerency!

My goal for Queerency has always been to cover the LGBTQ economy with dignity and depth, and my mission is to provide inspiration, information, and education to show our community who we can be and what we can achieve in business and beyond.

But I need your help to continue bringing that vision to fruition. If you've ever received any value from my work, I would greatly appreciate your vote! Queerency is an underdog in a very competitive category, so every vote counts.

If you send me a screenshot of your vote, I'll give you a shoutout in an upcoming video on TikTok and Instagram!

Please VOTE HERE, spread the word, and thank you so much for your support.

Have a great week,


Top Line

Stories with Main Character Energy

Please Help Me Win $10K to Grow Queerency!

Good news: I'm a finalist in the Top Creator category for the 2023 Next Challenge for Media and Journalism, a national competition seeking groundbreaking startups that will reinvent media in the coming decade.

Voting is now open for the Audience Choice Award, and the winner will receive $10,000 to grow their business. If I win, I will use the money to grow the Queerency newsroom to hire more journalists and creators so that we can increase our coverage of the queer economy and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship.

If you have ever received any valuable information, inspiration, or education from any of my work, I would appreciate your vote!


‘Gay Water’ a Vodka Soda Startup, Launching Soon with a Mission to Celebrate LGBTQ+ Identity

It's no secret that vodka sodas have become somewhat of a stereotype in the gay community when it comes to bellying up to the bar. For years, brands like Tito's and Absolut have dominated the market for prides, but one gay founder is shaking up the spirit world with a new big gay product.

Gay Water, founded by Spencer Hoddeson, is a canned vodka soda and lifestyle brand curated by and for the queer community.

“I was on a trip with a girlfriend who was talking about a job that she had just gotten in the beverage industry, and we were having drinks,” he said. “I ordered a vodka soda and turned to her and asked, ‘Did you know that within the queer community, typically an older generation of gay men, vodka soda is referred to as gay water?”

Hoddeson, who had already been toying with the idea of creating his own beverage product, said he followed the gay water idea down the rabbit hole to see where it would lead him.

Continue reading at Queerency

ABC News Appoints Gay Correspondent Gio Benitez as Co-Anchor of ‘GMA’ Weekends

ABC News has promoted gay correspondent Gio Benitez by naming him one of the network’s flagship weekend programs’ co-anchors.

Benitez, 37, will join Good Morning America as a permanent co-anchor on Saturdays and Sundays, ABC News President Kim Godwin announced in a statement to the network’s news division.

He joins current co-anchors Whit Johnson and Janai Norman.

Continue reading at The Advocate

A Queer Asian-American Founder Reflects on First-Generation Guilt, Coming Out, and Parental Acceptance

Growing up as a queer Asian American meant living multiple lives. To my grandparents back in China, I was studious, fluent in Mandarin, piano prodigy by night, and respectful member of society by day. To my white friends, I loved Pacsun, The Killers, and hid my love of stinky tofu and preserved duck eggs. But the most impactful life I lived was with my parents, who I somehow managed to convince that I had a crush on the Lisa I took to prom (who I’m actually great friends with now); and that, of course, I was going to become a doctor.

When I reflect on the intersectionality of my queer and Asian-American identities, I think back on how ferociously these two identities clashed, but ultimately how it’s provided me an incredible point of view, lessons in resilience, and continues to highlight a need for queer Asian representation in media and positions of influence.

Continue reading at Queerency

Insurance Company Refuses to Cover Houston Lesbian Bar Due to Texas Anti-Drag Legislation

A lesbian bar owner is speaking out on the business impact of anti-LGBTQ legislation in Texas. In an Instagram post, Julie Mabry, owner of Houston's Pearl Bar, recounted a recent experience where an unnamed insurance underwriter declined to insure her establishment because they host drag shows.

"Insurance companies have to take in the 'risk' of a business, and apparently, a lesbian bar is so much of a risk that the insurance companies are trying to deny us," Mabry said in the post.

Pearl Bar is a popular lesbian bar in Houston that hosts drag shows, drag bingo, and more. Mabry said that the venue paid more than $300k in sales and Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission taxes alone, making it a significant revenue generator for the state. However, despite being a 21+ club, the bar is still facing discrimination from insurance companies.

Continue reading at Queerency


Queer-Owned and -Allied Businesses In the News

This LGBTQ+- and Latina-Owned Brand Just Debuted the Cutest Pride Collection at Target
buying everything.
Uncanny Attractions is ready to fight for queer Texans
Uncanny Attractions will crown its first UNchampion on Saturday, but the larger battle lies in its continuing opposition to anti-LGBTQ sentiments in its home of Texas.
At 5, he asked his mum what ‘gay’ was; now he is the CEO of Out Leadership
Todd Sears, the CEO and founder of Out Leadership, the global LGBTQ business network, talks to Fionnuala McHugh about play-acting, letter writing and working as an openly gay man.
Disney And equalpride, PRIDE’s Parent Company, Announce Content Deal
equalpride is one of four diverse-owned media companies partnering with Disney on the initiative.
Breaking Boundaries: Detroit’s Black Queer Artists Shaping the Art World
Explore the art of 5 exceptional Black queer artists from Detroit, giving voice to unique experiences & perspectives
Wave of anti-trans bills could turn founders (and their businesses) into political refugees fleeing MO, KS
“I felt totally overwhelmed — I am in the middle of launching my startup right now,” said Lee Zuvanich, the founder of Appsta, as well as a new nonprofit that helps displaced trans individuals relocate to more welcoming cities. “I shouldn’t have the time or energy for this right now.”
Dramatic increase in LGBTQ-supportive companies on Nasdaq: report
Out Leadership survey shows 50% have inclusive board policies
Business Briefing: Gay vintner couple readies Napa events venue, guesthouse
Over the course of a Monday afternoon in mid-April at their Yountville home, husbands Joe Wolosz and Jeff Durham showed off their culinary skills as they discussed how the dishes they prepared paired with their Gentleman Farmer wines.
New Queer-Focused Wine Club Aims To Help Change the World—One Bottle at a Time
Jessica Bell just launched Fat Cat, a members-only wine club founded on her own curiosity and a desire to uplift queer winemakers and producers of color.
LESGO founder Nick Aldrich on why he created a new LGBTQ+ dating app
Nick Aldrich writes about why he decided to create an LGBTQ+ app, LESGO, that fixes “broken online gay culture”.
LGBTQ+ bookshop owner slams chains for only stocking books during Pride Month
The owner of a Manchester LGBTQ+ bookstore says large chains are ‘monetising’ queer people by only stocking books during Pride Month.


Good News in Queer Business, Politics, and More

Drag Isn’t Dangerous Telethon Raises More Than $500,000 for LGBTQ Causes
The event featured top drag performers such as Trixie Mattel, Jinkx Monsoon and Alaska 5000.
Union Pacific, 300+ other corporations sign letter opposing anti-LGBTQ legislation
Major corporations have expressed opposition to legislation restricting LGBTQ+ rights as the Nebraska Legislature continues debate on a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
Defying the state, Kansas City would be a sanctuary for people seeking gender-affirming health care
Officials in Missouri’s largest city are moving to declare it a sanctuary for people seeking or providing gender-affirming care. Kansas City is poised to defy state officials intent on banning such care for minors and restricting it for adults. A City Council committee approved such a resolution Wed…
Illinois moves toward gender inclusivity as others move away
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois bills that would update existing laws to be more gender inclusive and add protections for LGBTQ marriages are ready for action by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who said he will sign them.
Supreme Court Ruling on Trans Immigrant Celebrated for Correct Pronoun Use
The court has apparently set a kind of precedent.
Celebrate an LGBT Older Adult with a Digital Tribute on National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day
Baltimore, MD, May 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Celebrate an LGBT elder who made a difference in your life, and spread the word about the importance of LGBT older adults in your community on Tuesday, May 16—National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day. Jo
New D.C. Transgender Oral History Project launched
Effort funded by Humanities DC grant
How Eurovision is breathing new life into Liverpool’s queer scene
The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the biggest events in the queer calendar – and it’s breathing new life into Liverpool’s LGBTQ+ scene.
Beyond ‘She’s so mother’: What mothering looks like for queer and trans people who idolize LGBTQ icons
In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re educating fandoms of the history behind the ‘she’s so mother’ catchphrase where LGBTQ folks reinvent what motherhood means, especially for young queer and trans people.
Black Queer AF Music Festival 2023 - OutSmart Magazine
The second annual Black Queer AF Music Festival—Houston’s “Party with a Purpose” at Stampede Houston—brought in major performers including Kidd Kenn (read the interview, here), KenTheMan, Keke Wyatt, and many others. The innovative event, hosted by The Normal Anomaly Initiative, also featured immers…

Facts & Figures

Data to Digest

LGBTQ+ journalists face high levels of abuse in UK, study finds
LGBTQ+ journalists in the UK face “high levels” of abuse and a majority do not feel adequately protected by their employer, a study found.
CBS News poll analysis: How do people view book bans, trans rights issues as GOP presidential primary fight ramps up?
For many Republicans, there’s a pushback against the perceived overreach of today’s diversity and inclusion efforts.


Challenges to Overcome

Florida Publix Refuses to Write ‘Trans’ on a Cake, Citing Company Policy
The employees told the customers that acknowledging trans joy is taking a stand on a political issue, which company policy forbids.
Last-ditch effort to advance LGBTQ protection bill fails in Alaska House
Despite a last-minute push by LGBTQ veterans and teenagers, the bill remains stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.
Florida Law Will Allow Doctors to Deny Treatments to LGBTQ Patients
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill allowing medical professionals of any type to refuse to perform or prescribe treatments that violate
Teacher investigated for showing Disney movie with gay main character
A teacher in Florida is being investigated by the state for ‘indoctrination’ after showing a Disney film, which has a gay character.
Bitter transphobes threaten Starbucks boycott over heartwarming advert
Bitter transphobes are raging over a trans-inclusive Starbucks ad and, unsurprisingly, are calling for people to boycott the coffee company.
Russia fines Google over ‘LGBT propaganda’ and ‘false information’ - agencies
A Russian court fined Alphabet’s Google GOOGL.O 3 million roubles ($38,600) on Thursday for failing to delete YouTube videos it said promoted “LGBT propaganda” and “false information” about Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported.
Transgender worker sues Fort Worth’s BNSF for passing her over for promotion
Thirty-year employee Randi Berghorst had been named one of the railroad’s employees of the year in 2021 for her work in supporting LGBTQ+ workers.
Some businesses that endorsed a letter against anti-LGBTQ proposals field ‘harassing’ calls
One business owner called her local police department about what she considers a threatening call from a person angry over a public letter urging state officials to drop bills targeting LGBTQ rights.
Louisiana’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill passes, advances to Senate
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As Republican-drafted legislation that prohibits school employees from teaching sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom mounts, Louisiana lawmakers advanced their own “Don’t Say Gay” bill Tuesday.

Future Outlook

Opportunities & Events to Know About

National Pride Grant for LGBTQIA+ Small Businesses

The LGBTQIA+ National Grant allows eligible small businesses to receive one of 25 grants totaling $25,000. Founders First is committed to increasing the number of diverse founder-led companies generating over $1 million in revenue and creating premium-wage jobs. To be eligible, the company's founder must identify as LGBTQIA+, have an active U.S.-based business, be the CEO, President, or owner, and employ between 2 and 50 employees.

Learn more and apply here

Black Queer Creative Summit

GLAAD’s Black Queer Creative Summit is the first-of-its-kind in-person event, specifically geared towards educating, empowering, and training emerging Black LGBTQ+ creatives across five sectors of the entertainment industry:


Learn more and apply here