There is no industry, save perhaps restaurants, that has been hit harder than LGBTQ+ bars, clubs, and destinations. Many will not survive the pandemic.
Back in June, during what is traditionally Pride month, The New York Times reported that even the legendary Stonewall Inn was not spared. “Gay bars in New York City face the same challenges as other bars and restaurants shuttered in recent months — high rents, thin profit margins, and now little-to no-income — but for L.G.B.T.Q. establishments, the shutdown has been more than a business dilemma. It has struck at the heart of a community whose culture and history are passed down through generations of people who are not blood-related, and who depend on spaces like bars both to find safety and to meet their peers.”
Photo Above: Jake Resnicow by Casey Kringlen
Jake Resnicow Events hopes to turn the tide and is pledging to donate fifty $200 grants to LGBTQ+ nightlife workers and artists who have been impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown.
The proceeds are being donated from his recent Utopia retreat in the Poconos during Labor Day Weekend that was a huge success.
Says Resnicow, “I’m happy to share that we had zero reported cases of attendees testing positive after the first Utopia. We believe that encouraging testing and discovering asymptomatic COVID-19 cases helps to stop the spread.”
Buoyed by that successful, safe Labor Day celebration, Resnicow is now planning his next Utopia treat in the Poconos on October 30 through November 1st called Dystopia Halloween (you can learn more and buy tix here).
To be eligible for the $200 grants, applicants must reside in the USA and must have been a service industry worker in a queer nightlife establishment at the start of the pandemic. That includes bartenders, servers, DJs, go-go dancers, entertainers, lighting/sound/design producers, event photographers, and more.
It also includes producers or organizers of queer nightlife events and vendors/contractors who primarily served the queer nightlife industry and can demonstrate that nightlife employment constituted a significant portion of their regular monthly income are permitted to apply. “Our community is suffering now more than ever before,” explains Resnicow. “So many of us are out of work, struggling to make ends meet. It is just one of the reasons I am urging everyone to the polls in November.”
Resnicow is a co-founder of VOTE PROUD, a non-partisan voting effort that is being co-chaired by celebrities Sharon Stone, Sir Elton John, David Furnish, Billy Porter, Andy Cohen, Dua Lipa, Sean Hayes and Laverne Cox.
Interested applicants for the grants are encouraged to apply online here. The passcode to apply is: gaynrd. Deadline to submit applications is Wednesday, September 23rd at 5PM EST. Grants will be administered to qualified applicants on a first-come first-serve basis.