After pressing pause on the party in 2020, rainbow flags are flying and the glitter is sparkling. Pride Month is in full swing! It’s time to support LGBTQIA+ run businesses by going all out for the month-long celebration of diversity and inclusion.
Because, after all, love is love.
Pride Month Festivities
Celebrated annually during the month of June, Pride Month is a time for the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual) community to be proud of who they are.
Festive parades are a prominent feature of Pride Month, as are street festivals, community events, poetry readings and educational sessions, all of which attract millions of participants. As with all in-person gatherings in 2020, most Pride celebrations were cancelled. In 2021, Pride organizers are working to bring communities together both virtually and in person as much as possible.
But the celebration of pride isn’t just about waving the rainbow flag during the month of June. Pride Month (and beyond) is ultimately an opportunity to show support and raise political awareness of current issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community.
Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion
Meet Sari Sheridan, a resident of Northern Virginia, who is part of a three-woman team behind a Facebook group called Progressively Yours: Politics, Pods, and Trash TV. Though the group is private, the group is a very welcoming community and happy to take on new members.
The ‘Progressively Yours’ community, which is made up of “about 500 women & men who are like-minded in many ways. We enjoy some of the same television shows, politics, and an interest in podcasts,” Sari explains. “We discuss everything from the recent politics & policies, to the podcasts we listen to, to hilarious conversations about shows like 90 Day Fiancé, etc.”
The group came together in 2020 and “really grew closer during the election,” she adds. “We built this group as a way for our members to vent, share their experiences or ask for advice, discuss recent events in a safe space, and laugh our way through a tremendously difficult year with COVID-19 and a very important election year. We’ve rallied together. Some of us took part in social justice causes, started donations to give to a worthy cause, or helped their community in some way or another, and we all cheered each other on from all over the country.”
Gifting For Good
To show the ‘Progressively Yours’ group’s commitment to supporting diversity, they have hosted monthly gift exchanges throughout this year. Through their acts of generosity to one another, they also make it their mission to focus on causes that matter most to them.
“Depending on the month we decided based on events or holidays of that month. Naturally, because June is Pride Month we wanted to support LGBTQIA+ small businesses,” Sari explains. “We also set up donation posts for members who’d prefer to donate vs send a gift or would like to partake in both!
“This past year has undoubtedly been a difficult year for us all. Having this monthly exchange has allowed us all to be there for each other even from afar. Sometimes a little package received let’s you know that someone out there is thinking of you… and that can make all the difference in your world.”
“Many of our members are healthcare workers, have friends or loved ones who have been impacted by COVID, or they themselves have had COVID,” explains Sari. “This monthly event gives us the opportunity to reach out and say ‘we love you and we think about you.’ Some of our members have lost work, had come across hard times, and we strive to support each other. It means something to have this community to come to when times get tough. The gift exchange we do monthly is a wonderful way to send a little happy via snail mail.”
Supporting Communities and Causes
In addition to gifting one another, they are gifting communities through their own generosity as well. This month, ‘Progressively Yours’ sought donations to two non-profit causes:
The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people under 25;
Free Mom Hugs, a non-profit founded by one mom to accept, love and support the LGBTQ community.
“In past months, we have supported Black History Month, Earth Month, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Month and Women’s History Month,” Sari says. They will also make donations on behalf of the entire group. “The group has donated to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the National Stuttering Association, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and many more. We pay close attention to the events of today and we try to coordinate accordingly. Some are last minute decisions based on an event while others are planned out in advance knowing it’s the month’s holiday or theme.”
Making Wishes for Pride Month
Through the magic of wishing and adding gift ideas from LGBTQ+-run businesses to their Elfster wishlist, these gifters are making a difference with Pride purchases that go directly to the community itself.
Here are 5 Businesses they are supporting through wishing & gifting:
- Otherwild – a queer-identified woman-owned store, design studio and event space located in Los Angeles;
- The Sisters Stoned – a Chicago duo who, in 2020, in quarantine… ran out of candles to cover up some smells in their apartments and a business emerged;
- Pumkinfish – an eclectic collection of unique gifts and goodies found throughout the world located in Indianapolis;
- Bijou Candles – candles inspired by women in pop culture history, carrying the moniker of their iconic namesakes;
- Palmer Proper Supply Co. – #inspiringPRIDE with Soap ? Through the month of June, all proceeds from the Inspiring Pride Hand & Body soap will benefit arts in lgbtqa+ youth.
This list includes only a few of the vast variety of LGBTQ-owned businesses that need your support not only during Pride Month, but year-round. Seek out LGBTQ+ businesses in your community, give them a try and spread the word. And take a look at Elfster’s Celebrate Pride gift guide for more great gifting suggestions.
No matter where you shop, you can always add a link from any shop to your Elfster wishlist, making it easier than ever to support businesses you admire.
Continuing this Monthly Adventure
This Pride Month, it’s hard to imagine we’ve gotten past the challenges 2020 brought us. It’s finally time to focus on the fun of reconnecting with those who matter most. It helps us to realize there is still plenty of goodness in the world.
“We are just so grateful for the [Elfster] platform that grants us the opportunity to reach out to each other while also giving us the ability to support small businesses during this difficult time. We plan to continue this monthly adventure for as long as we can!” exclaims Sari. “And we hope that our story inspires other groups to do the same! It’s been so much fun to find monthly gifts and support a worthy cause. And it’s been even better to have the ability to support each other even for afar.”
We look forward to sharing more stories of ordinary folks doing the extraordinary to help us focus on making a difference. As we now realize, we can get through any challenging times… together.
Looking for an easy way to spread joy in your community? Try a Secret Santa generator that simplifies the process. Elfster makes it easy to pair people up, shop for gifts, and start a Wish List. Plus, you can access it all from an iPhone app or Android app.