Celebrating all families – and working to protect them
Welcome to Pride Month 2023 at Nugget! We hope this month brings you joy and inclusion, and new ideas about how we can create a future together where truly, Y’all Means All. Here at Nugget, that means we support and affirm a world where everyone — especially LGBTQ+ individuals — can live as themselves: thriving, accepted, and supported. It also means we’re ready to do our part to work toward that goal.
We invite you to celebrate with us all month long, including a special Cover Club in a few weeks to raise funds again for our friends and partners at the Campaign for Southern Equality! For the uninitiated, the Cover Club concept is simple: Nuggeteers enter a contest to win Nuggety prizes, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting a non-profit organization doing life-changing, hugely important work.
We partnered with CSE last June, too — and with your help, we raised more than $61,000 for their programs. We’re so grateful for CSE’s critical work across the American South, and we’re incredibly inspired by the work they’re doing, especially amidst an unprecedented crush of legislation targeting the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.
A horrifying 491 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation have been introduced in 2023 alone, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. That’s more than double the number of bills introduced last year, and nearly 12 times the number of bills from just five years ago. New bills are being proposed and filed almost every single day.
That means CSE’s work matters more than ever, especially right now. We caught up with CSE’s Engagement and Resource Manager Whisper Moore, to see how the organization has been able to use Nugget’s donation and what she’s looking forward to during Pride Month 2023.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Nugget: We at Nugget embrace the joyful and hopeful phrase “Y’all means all” during Pride month. What does “Y’all means all” mean to you — and where do you see it being most embraced right now?
Whisper Moore: To us, “Y’all means all” means that no one has equal rights until we all have equal rights. Because Y’all includes all of us, and it does not exclude those of us who are transgender or otherwise a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Nugget: Through our Cover Club partnership in 2022, Nugget and Nugget customers raised $61,400 for the Campaign for Southern Equality. Can you share a little bit about what your organization was able to accomplish with those funds?
Whisper: We are so grateful for Nugget’s support and continued allyship and all of the programming that it helps to support.
In June 2022, when a U.S. Supreme Court justice publicly questioned long standing rulings granting dignity and equality to LGBTQ+ people, including the freedom to marry, the Campaign for Southern Equality leapt into action. We launched our Meeting the Moment campaign with funds raised from Nugget and embarked on a robust summer of programming. This included:
- Helping LGBTQ+ Southerners TAKE ACTION by urging Congress to pass LGBTQ+ protections at the federal level and codify critical Supreme Court rulings, including marriage for same-sex couples.
- Ensuring our community could TAKE CARE of themselves and their loved ones during a stressful time. We hosted a series of Wellness Workshops that focused on conversations about work/rest balance, grief, and reimagining family and celebrations.
- Giving LGBTQ+ Southerners an opportunity to TAKE STEPS TO PREPARE and protect their families from threats. We held a series of Community Law and “Know Your Rights'' workshops that helped people understand how they could best protect their families legally.
Nugget: CSE also used Nugget’s donation to support an entire slate of Back-to-School programming. Could you tell us more about that?
Whisper: LGBTQ+ young people were heading back to school in August and September after a year where lawmakers pushed hostile legislation that largely targeted LGBTQ+ kids in school — bills that banned transgender students from participating in school sports and bills like Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law prohibiting discussion of identity in classrooms.
Our team assembled Back-to-School care packages for LGBTQ+ young people, which included school supplies, a water bottle, messages of love and support, and a copy of our brand-new publication, Supportive Schools for LGBTQ+ Students: A Guide to Policies and Best Practices. This manual can be used by parents and students as a resource to advocate for themselves so they know their rights if they were to face discrimination within the school environment.
Nugget: The LGBTQ+ community, particularly the trans community, is under attack across the country right now, especially in the South and especially when it comes to legislation. Where are the most urgent fights today?
Whisper: Right now the nation as a whole is really in a fight for our identity. We’ve seen over 70 bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community become law in states across the country, signaling an unprecedented attack on the lives and humanity of the LGBTQ+ community — and the South is the epicenter of this attack.
Many of the laws being enacted target access to gender-affirming care for transgender youth, with almost every state in the South passing some sort of restriction, inserting the government into the private medical decisions that should be left to transgender patients, their families, and their medical providers. In response, Campaign for Southern Equality has launched the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project, which provides rapid response support directly to the families of impacted youth. We provide patient navigation to help people identify out-of-state providers so they can continue to access their healthcare, as well as emergency funding to help them travel to their appointments.
CSE is also focused on efforts to stop more bills from passing and becoming law — including in North Carolina, where many of our staff members are based. We encourage folks to contact their lawmakers to urge them to vote “NO” on these bills. It really does make a difference.
Nugget: Creating an inclusive society is really complicated, but there are tangible steps each one of us can take to make positive changes in our communities. What’s something someone can do today that could make a difference?
Whisper: I want to reiterate the importance of voting and calling your legislators. It really does make a difference. So much effort would not be put into voter suppression if voting didn’t matter. So please, please — go out and vote.
On a smaller scale, everyone can make a difference by taking small steps to be more inclusive. We encourage everyone to introduce themselves by sharing their name and also their pronouns (such as he/him, she/her, or they/them). This helps others feel safe enough to share their pronouns, and they appreciate knowing that you won’t assume their gender. I think that goes a long way to being inclusive.
Nugget: This moment in our country and the fight for equality and equity can feel, to put it lightly, really overwhelming right now. How are you all holding up at CSE? What do you do to take care of yourselves to ensure you can keep fighting?
Whisper: CSE believes fervently in health care — and self care. We fight for health care access for all, and we provide that to our employees — including by offering staffers a wellness stipend that they can use as they’d like. We employ wellness and healing practitioners, including our Director of Healing & Resilience. It’s important for organizations to offer their employees of all levels health and wellness benefits. Everyone deserves fundamental health care — it is a human right.
Nugget: What are you most looking forward to about Pride month this year?
Whisper: I love all the rainbows that come out for Pride Month. Suddenly, we see rainbows and flags everywhere — and if we’re very lucky, unicorns everywhere. It makes me really happy to see. I think it shifts the whole energy of the environment and makes most people more happy. Despite all of these anti-LGBTQ+ attacks, I think it’s critical that we remember that we are also in a time of unprecedented public support for the LGBTQ+ community. Polling tracks support higher than ever, and unlikely allies are coming out and expressing their support every single day. There is much more love out there than hate – and much more support than oppression. During Pride month it really shows, and that makes me happy.
Nugget: What does your organization need most this year?
Whisper: CSE needs folks to really get out there, show their support by taking action in their areas, attending rallies, calling their lawmakers, and sharing why they support LGBTQ+ equality and especially transgender youth.
Importantly, CSE also needs funding — and it’s why we’re so grateful for Nugget’s partnership. Our team is working tirelessly to provide rapid response grants to families, grassroots organizations, artists, and healers. We tend to all areas of people’s lives — fighting for affirming health care, conducting research about the LGBTQ+ community, and helping queer people connect with the arts. When we get funds, we make sure they go to where they’re needed most.
Nugget: Thank you so much for your time and your work, Whisper.You can help support CSE’s critical work by donating on their website, following them @SouthernEquality, or participating in Nugget’s Cover Club fundraiser later this month.