While June presents a meaningful opportunity to reflect on and uplift the queer lives and stories that have indelibly shaped and enriched our nation’s history, the PBFA team is committed to honoring and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community year-round, and to ensuring that the pillars of diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion are the foundation of all of the work that we do, within our food system and beyond. But as we gather with friends and family to mark this year’s Pride Month and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, we also know that the march towards true equality has many miles left to go—and it’s up to all of us to ensure that we not only secure the ground we’ve already gained, but keep our compass pointed firmly in the direction of continued progress. To keep our eyes on education and action, we’ve curated a list of educational resources covering the rich history of the Pride movement, along with a guide to LGBTQ+ charities and organizations nationwide in need of our support. 

The influence of the LGBTQ+ community on our industry cannot be overstated – many of the leaders and trailblazers who have taken plant-based foods to unprecedented heights are members and champions of the queer community. However, historically marginalized communities continue to face oppression and prejudice, and in the midst of a disturbing rise in hateful rhetoric and threats to equality, our industry has a responsibility to speak up, show up, and fight for a better world for LGBTQ+ people in our community and beyond. . 
Where do we start? In a piece published last year in celebration of Pride, we had the wonderful opportunity to speak to Becky Harrison, a leader in our industry, a member of the PBFA Board of Directors, and a self-identified member of the LGBTQ+ community, who spoke to her own experience existing as a queer person within our industry, and gave us helpful tips to keep in mind as we navigate the workplace:

“There are a lot more people that have seats at the table. And that’s really good, because that’s not always been the case, but do the people at the table have a voice? Do the people at the table feel comfortable to use that voice? […] I’ve come to learn more that I’m not a single identity. So at the table, do people have a voice to say ‘my identity changed’?”

Becky Harrison, Plant Based Foods Association Board Member

Accountability requires constant learning, an openness to discomfort, and personal/group reflection. Within our own work environments, we must ask ourselves these difficult questions and be prepared for answers that may push ourselves out of our comfort zones to grow in the direction of inclusivity. The more we set aside our egos in an effort to uplift our peers and foster a sense of equity within our communities, the stronger we will be as our industry grows and welcomes more collaborators to the table. 

Becky continues on: “From the company perspective, it’s nice that you can say ‘Happy Pride’ and put a spotlight on it, but if you look at the big stakeholders in your company, if you look at your investors, are they really investing specifically in the larger political landscape? Are they investing into causes and people that are pro-LGBTQ? […] Where you put your money matters. […] donate to people who are really moving the ball forward as far as true equality, because that’s what we need.” PBFA remains committed to partnering with organizations and companies that live our values everyday, and we want to emphasize that ensuring PBFA is a safe space for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community is of paramount importance to our team. 

We could not be more proud to champion and collaborate with members of all genders and orientations, who hail from communities across the spectrum of religion, culture, and ethnicity. The fight for LGBTQ+ rights is ongoing, and so much of the incredible progress made is owed to the brave individuals who have held a torch for their friends and neighbors in the face of oppression, and advocated for the intersectional ideals that celebrate and uplift tolerance, justice, and equality. Thank you to the members of the plant-based foods space, who continue this fight within our own industry and beyond, and we wish everyone a happy and safe celebration! Please take a look at the resources below and consider providing volunteer or financial assistance to any of the organizations listed.