On Sept. 21, five small businesses teamed up for Equality GSO, an event to support the LGBTQ community. The businesses — Golden Spiral, Crafted, Fahrenheit Kollectiv, Green Bean and Elsewhere — worked with the organization NC Equality to make the event a success.
“Proceeds for the (day) will go to NC Equality,” said Rebecca Cisneros of Fahrenheit Kollectiv, a local salon.
According to their website, NC Equality is an organization “dedicated to securing equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.”
“Hopefully, this event will show the LGBTQ community how many businesses are accepting,” said Kristina Fuller, chief proprietor of Crafted, a taco shop.
The day was a success, with artists like Dalton Village, Whisky Christy and the Half Pint Orchestra, Laura Jane Vincent and 10 others performing at the Green Bean Cafe, and crowds of people coming to the event from all around Greensboro and the towns nearby.
“It was a very nice atmosphere,” said first-year Ellie Weiner, who visited the Green Bean Cafe and Elsewhere. “I do think it’s a really good way to … support (NC Equality).”
Weiner also observed the zines being sold by Elsewhere.
“They were a collection of short stories from high school students (sharing experiences),” said Weiner. “They also had a table where you could share stories about your experiences.”
Additionally, Fahrenheit Kollectiv offered special prices on haircuts for those who wanted to support the event, while Golden Spiral offered custom and flash tattoos.
Lea Brown, president of Queer People of Color, thinks that even with events like this, the community still has a long way to go.
“I think the five small businesses that donated to NC Equality are definitely headed in the right direction,” said Brown. “I appreciate their efforts and applaud them for taking a public stand for equality. However, I don’t think doing charity work for one day should be so highly glorified.”
On the other hand, Brian Daniel, director of Binford Hall and advisor of Pride, was impressed with the efforts of the five small businesses.
“It’s unique that small businesses are assisting organizations that they’re passionate about,” Daniel said. “It’s really special that they’re supporting organizations that align with their values. It’s important.”
When asked about what these businesses hope to do in the future, Fuller said, “This is our first (event). More than likely it will be an annual event.”
Brown hopes for the same.
“I think this event was successful, and if more events like this follow, it will also share the same results,” said Brown. “I just hope these businesses don’t stop here. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, and although it is not necessarily their responsibility, I just hope their efforts continue. I am happy this will become an annual event. I hope more businesses join the cause and hopefully contribute even more than this year. I just wish it didn’t stop there.”
When asked why this event is so important, Fuller said that she wants the LGBTQ community to know that they are being supported, just like they are supporting those small businesses.
“It’s important for there to be more public LGBTQ awareness in the south, where it isn’t a part of every day education,” said Weiner. “These issues aren’t even on people’s radars. I also think that … a place like Greensboro, (which) is fairly liberal, is a very good and very important place to start.”
With this event, the answer as to whether or not the LGBTQ community is being supported is clear: there is a lot of support for the LGBTQ community coming from Greensboro. At the same time, Brown is right: we still do have a long way to go before we can achieve equality.