The Balance Sheet: March 19, 2023

In this week's Balance Sheet we're discussing Lego's "Queer Eye" lawsuit, the new Co-founder and COO at Lex, celebrity stylist Law Roach's retirement, expanded LGBTQ+ legal protections in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, and more!

The Balance Sheet: March 19, 2023

Hey there! In this week's Balance Sheet we're discussing Lego's "Queer Eye" lawsuit, the new Co-founder and COO at Lex, celebrity stylist Law Roach's retirement, expanded LGBTQ+ legal protections in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, and more!

Don't forget to register for the free live webinar I'm cohosting on March 29th at 6 pm ET! It's all about building an online audience for your business.

See you next week!


Top Line

Stories with Main Character Energy

Law Roach, Hollywood Mega Stylist and Image Architect, Retires

In a shock to the worlds of fashion and entertainment, celebrity stylist Law Roach abruptly announced his retirement last week due to "politics" and "lies." Roach has become a styling juggernaut who has worked with Hollywod A-listers like Zendaya, Priyanka Chopra, Celine Dion, Tom Holland, Megan Thee Stallion, Hunter Schafer, Kerry Washington, Ariana Grande, and more.

In a sit-down interview with The Cut editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples, Roach broke down the reasons for his retirement, saying that "[he's] been suffering for years."

For more on Roach's career and impact, check out these pieces:

  • Law Roach: A Short Timeline of a Legendary and Historic Career (Out Magazine)
  • The Law According to Law Roach (Insider)
  • Law Roach: The Stylist Who Transformed Céline Dion and Zendaya (The Guardian)
  • Justice for Law Roach (Elle)

Jennifer Rhiannon Lewis Named Co-founder of Lex

Lex, the app for finding LGBTQ+ friends & queer community, has named a new Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer. Founder and CEO Kel Rakowski made the announcement last week.

According to her LinkedIn, Jennifer Rhiannon Lewis is an expert in launching and scaling businesses from Seed to Series B, and has 14 years of global experience building high growth consumer tech businesses at the cutting edge of women's health, sexual wellness, LGBTQ+ and community.

Lego Fails to Dismiss Lawsuit Over 'Queer Eye' Copyright Infringement

A Connecticut federal judge has ruled that James Concannon, a multi-disciplinary artist, has provided sufficient evidence that Lego Systems, Inc. allegedly copied enough of his jacket that a jury could potentially find copyright infringement.

The lawsuit stems from a leather jacket Concannon made for Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski. The artist gifted the jacket to Antoni, but says that he did not give Lego permission to use a recreation of the one-of-a-kind jacket for its Fab Five Loft LEGO set.

WeedTube to Close Down, Cirrus Social Club Coming Soon

After five years at the forefront of the cannabis creator economy, WeedTube will cease operations on April 2nd. Co-founder and CEO Arend Richard made the announcement last week, citing "significant ease of restrictions from other social platforms towards this type of content" in the past year, along with "the rising illegal activity that the team is fighting against everyday on the platform" as some of the reasons for its shuttering.

However, Richard has already announced his next contribution to the cannabis community: Cirrus Social Club. Launching later this year, it is described as a "warm, clean, comfortable, and safe space where adults can come to socialize, learn, and interact with each other, while responsibly enjoying state-legal cannabis and cannabis products."

LGBTQ+ Rights Score Major Wins in Midwest & Mid-Atlantic States

While Red states across the country, particularly in the South, continue their assault on LGBTQ+ rights (potentially losing billions of dollars as a result), there have been some major wins for LGBTQ+ legal protections in the following states:

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Good News in Queer Business, Politics, and More

Zaya Wade Lands First Magazine Cover: Fashion Is a ‘Really Important Part of Expressing My Identity’
Zaya Wade just hit a career milestone after she landed her first-ever magazine cover for the spring issue of DAZED where she opened up about finding her voice through fashion, how her parents Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union-Wade helped her fall in love with style and being trans in the public eye.
A gay man’s mass email to his family demanding they stop voting for Republicans went viral. His dad said it helped change his mind.
Richard Short told Insider that his son’s email, which went viral, prompted him to resign from the Republican Club he belonged to in Texas.
Queer Workers Form City-Wide Direct-Join Labor Union: First of its Kind in Louisville
By Benjamin Berry In late October 2022, after months of organizing, the two dozen workers at local pizzeria, Pizza Lupo, notified management of their intention to unionize as members of the Louisvi…
‘God loves trans kids’: Billboard sparks conversation about religion and gender identity
A new billboard along the interstate in South Carolina is sparking conversation about the relationship between religion and people who identify as transgender.
This storied town’s rich gay past sees a renaissance after ‘White Lotus’
The stomping grounds of Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Somerset Maugham, and Jean Cocteau sees a new generation of LGBTQ+ travelers…


Challenges to Overcome

Catholic Group Spends Millions on Dating App Data to Out Gay Priests
After buying commercially available location and usage data from dating and hookup apps like Grindr, the Denver-based group identified gay priests and outed them to their bishops.
Across the world, politicians are scapegoating LGBT people to distract from their own failures
Governments from Uganda to the UK try to hide their failings by creating a problem, always based around a minority
Examining the organizations pushing for anti-trans bills in state legislatures
This year alone, at least 31 state legislatures have introduced bills that target transgender youth, according to the ACLU.
S.F. walks back boycott of anti-LGBT, anti-abortion states
Supervisors approved a partial repeal of its policies prohibiting The City from conducting business with states that have anti-abortion, anti-LGBT and voter suppression laws on the books.
N.H. Senate passes bill that would force teachers to ‘out’ transgender kids to their parents - The Boston Globe
Critics voice concerns about the impact on LGBTQ students, while Republicans contend the measure reasserts parental rights in New Hampshire.


LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurs & Queer-Owned Brands In the News

Progress, Setbacks, and Everything In Between: The Reality of Being a Queer Woman in Business
News, events, features, entertainment, interviews, Pride, nightlife, organizations, families, marriage
Trans hairdresser explains why she ditched ‘archaic’ gendered price lists
Trans hairdresser Melissa Hamilton has ditched gendered price lists to promote equality and inclusion.
Proposed Dispensary At Former Town Hall Pub Will Strengthen LGBTQ Business District’s Future, Owner Says
One owner of the proposed weed dispensary in Northalsted said “opening a successful, inclusive dispensary” in the LGBTQ district “is about more than cannabis.”
The digital platform hoping to redefine ‘queer’ art
If you’re in the market for ghoulish ceramic heads or colorful collages of gay sex among off-duty soldiers, a new digital art platform has you covered.
Misterb&b creates safe space for LGBTQ+ travelers and hosts
Matthieu Jost, CEO and co-founder of Misterb&b, is all too familiar with how discrimination can spoil the travel experience.  
Coil + Drift opens lighting studio and showroom in the Catskills
Coil + Drift has opened an office, showroom and production facility in the Catskill Mountains that places modern elements in a barn-like building.
Human Rights Campaign and Alphonso David Reach Lawsuit Settlement
David, HRC’s former president, had sued the organization after his firing, claiming racial discrimination.
Gay man sues hometown after Pride van ‘targeted’ with relentless tickets
LGBTQ+ business owner has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Amherst for discrimination after receiving tickets on his pride-flag cars.

Future Outlook

Opportunities & Events to Know About

Health fair in Fort Worth aims to connect trans people to resources, each other | Fort Worth Report
Finn’s Place LGBTQ Community Health Fair will take place March 25.
NGLCC Community Impact Grant Program - NGLCC
Supported by the Grubhub Community Fund​NGLCC and the Grubhub Community Fund have come together once again to provide vital assistance for LGBTQ+-owned and allied restaurants, cafes, bars serving food, and other eating establishments. The NGLCC Community Impact Grant Program, supported by the Grubhu…
Receive up to $25K in grants for your queer-owned food business!