For Pride this year, I've started a fundraiser for The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York. I've chosen this organization because their mission means a lot to me, especially during this time, and I hope you'll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me. Every little bit will help me reach my goal of $2,500, and your gift will directly support the life-changing programs and services at The Center. Learn more about The Center here.
Thank you so much for supporting my fundraising efforts and celebrating with me in this meaningful way! If you are unable to donate right now, please share the link to my Facebook fundraiser and help me reach more eyes for this cause!
Happy Pride! What a difference a year makes. Last year we were celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a movement led mostly by trans women of color that set off a wave of change to improve the status of LGBTQ+ people. This year, the Stonewall Inn, where the movement began, is on the verge of closing due to necessary COVID-19 measures. Community centers have become phone support centers. And Pride is finding new vibrancy through virtual connection and celebration.
This Pride Month, the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ activism are pulled together by extraordinary circumstances - protests sparked by the killings of black people and trans people of color at the hands of the police, the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic crisis that disproportionately affects people of color, and the win of the Supreme Court decision protecting LGBTQ+ people from employment discrimination. People are mobilizing, and it is reminding everyone that things simply must change.
I am grateful. I am grateful for the the hard work of the brave people who fought so hard and who persist in being their open and authentic selves so that I can have the privilege of being an out woman and business leader. The bravery of the change makers before me like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, and the LGBTQ+ youth of today who teach me courage everyday, have shown me that being queer and powerful doesn’t have to be something that I need to hide.
Being who I am informs my leadership. It fuels my passion for creating a diverse meritocracy at work (indeed, 100% of my staff identifies as woman, immigrant, person of color, and/or LGBTQ+). I want people to walk into Leota and see themselves belonging there because they are not the only one. Leota is an example of the changing face of leadership, and I hope we are setting an example for other companies, as well as providing a little beacon of hope.
Fashion is about self expression. Being yourself can be kind of radical - but do it anyway.