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Halloween is Queer

Halloween is Queer

by C. Rizleris (reposted and updated from Oct. 2022 blog post)

Happy Halloween! I love to begin this post with my favorite poet, Nickole Brown, who posts this EVERY Halloween on her social media:

Halloween: the best holiday, if you ask me– it doesn’t insist upon wholeness that makes so many feel deficit and lonely; it rarely makes your family feel more broke (or broken) than it already is. Halloween doesn’t care if you’ve been good or bad or what religion you are or not. So bring on the eyelashes and wigs and devil’s horns; take out the pancake makeup and fake blood and those ridiculous heels you thought you’d never wear again. The kids are squealing down the street with pillowcases full of free candy, the drag bars have lines around the corner, and for one night, everyones asking everyone else a pretty great question, 'so, who are you'?” - Nickole Brown's annual Halloween...

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When Equality Leads to Advocacy

Every June, members of the LGBTQIA+ community come together to celebrate Pride Month. This celebration of our identities, our past, and our ongoing reach for equality began after the Stonewall riots in 1969 and continues vibrantly today, even though the world is scary right now.

My spouse Kristy and I are approaching our 10-year wedding anniversary in July, during a year when more than 500 anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation have been introduced across the country.

It’s safe to say that I am worried.

I first looked at our changing world in relation to Pride Month in 2020. One thing that I noticed then that remains true today is how quickly we forget just how recently certain things in the world have changed:

  • Interracial marriage was only fully legalized in all states in 1967. That’s only 56 years.
  • December 15, 1973, the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses. That’s only 49 years.
  • June 26, 2015, the U.S....
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On Purpose: A Conversation with Kalyela Josephs

We are days away from our biggest Pride and Joy Parent Event: Prepping Your Family for Pride. We sat down with one of our incredible panelists, Kalyela Josephs (she/they), and also known as Coach K, to chat about pride, family and purpose. Kalyela has been partnering with the Pride and Joy Foundation for a long time. She was featured on our podcast, Out of Queeriosity last season and you can listen here.

Kalyela will also be part of our Pride and Joy Summit - a two part series on Friday May 12 and Saturday May 13 of all LGBTQ+ public speakers across a variety of topics you won't want to miss. Coach K will give their talk "Coming Out to Your Purpose" on Saturday May 13 in the second round of our speakers. 

Their work as a public speaker, coach and LGBTQ+ advocate has changed and empowered individuals and organizations. Kalyela has dedicated their life to helping others find and live with purpose. We hope you will enjoy our meaningful conversation.


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On Creating Affirming Space with RaYnbow Collective

What can students do to support their own wellbeing in environments that are not affirming? 

This is one of the main questions that the RaYnbow Collective has asked since its inception. As Maddison Tenney, the founder and current executive director, began this non-profit in June of 2021, queer wellbeing in un-affirming environments in her local community was life or death. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, queer people have a lot of experience in existing in environments that are not affirming. That has been the case for the queer community at Brigham Young University, a damaging and wholly un-affirming space for its queer students, faculty, and staff. That’s why since its start, the RaYnbow Collective has passionately worked to identify and create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students at BYU. That is our mission and why our organization's actions focus on connecting students to affirming community resources, other queer peers, and allies. 

In an attempt to further...

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Trans Day of Visibility

advocacy nonbinary tdov trans Mar 30, 2023

Today is Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV). It is celebrated on March 31st every year to honor the lives and contributions of the trans community. TDOV serves as a reminder that transgender individuals exist, always have, and aren’t going anywhere. It is a day to acknowledge, respect, and celebrate the trans community, while also bringing awareness to issues the trans community face such as discrimination, poverty and violence. 

Trans Day of Visibility began in 2009, thanks to Rachel Crandall-Crocker. She wanted a day to celebrate joy and happiness in the trans community to counter all the hate, violence and discrimination shown to the trans community. It wasn’t until 2021 for the White House to officially proclaim March 31, 2021 as Trans Day of Visibility by president Joe Biden. 

Trans as an Umbrella Term

Language evolves and is fluid. Trans is an umbrella term for anyone who does not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. So today we celebrate and...

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A Conversation with Quinten Foster

We have the honor and privilege of partnering with Quinten Foster (he/him), Director of Transgender Whole Health Care, at East Bay Community Action Program (EBCAP) in Rhode Island for our next Pride and Joy Parent event. In our preliminary conversation with Quinten, he shares some of his insight on healthy relationships, sex ed in schools, his work in the community, as well as provides helpful resources for teens. 

Pride and Joy Foundation (P&J): What things are integral to maintaining healthy relationships (and this doesn’t have to necessarily be romantic, could be platonic, familial, professional, etc.)

Quinten: The most important one that I tend to share with teens is generally just communication. Being able to talk to somebody about these things is very important. Communicating in healthy ways, being able to set boundaries, and really understanding that boundaries are a limitation on your own behavior, rather than a demand out of somebody else. Being able to frame...

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Meet the Producers of Leaders for Inclusive Change

The Pride and Joy Foundation is very excited to introduce you to our recipients of the Leaders for Inclusive Change Grant, which was generously funded by the Gamma Mu Foundation. This six-week course will provide information, tools, and resources for anyone who wants to start a Gay Straight Alliance, Rainbow or other Diversity clubs at schools. 

After reviewing an exciting round of incredible applicants, the decision was not easy. Our Board of Directors has selected two LGBTQ+ educators, Ær Queen (they/them,fen/fens) and Nicholas Prosini (they/them), as facilitators of Leaders for Inclusive Change.  Ær (they/them,fen/fens) is a trans non-binary General Music teacher at Bradock Elementary School in Annandale, Virginia in Fairfax County Public Schools. They are a proud alumnx of Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia where they earned their Bachelor of Music in Music Education. Ær met Nicholas Prosini through...

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Pride and Joy Publishing wants your help in making the literary world a more inclusive space


Last year, Pride and Joy Publishing released its flagship publication, Thriving in Business: Strategies for the LGBTQ+ Entrepreneur. Within a week, the book hit #1 in Women in Business and #7 in Entrepreneurship. 


Although the titles and rankings are a good fit for many of the authors within the book, we quickly realized that there was something missing in the literary world. Although 6 out of the 14 authors in this book are either trans, non-binary or gender fluid, there was no existing category for them that perfectly fit the bill. Pride and Joy Publishing began digging into the titles/categories allotted and found that there were currently no “Nonbinary Authors” or “LGBTQ+ Business” categories in existence.  


Although this book is making waves in terms of visibility and direct guidance for LGBTQ+ business owners, the lack of these authorship categories is more than enough evidence that our literary and business worlds...

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The Legacy Fund for Purpose-Driven Female Founders


Legacy is a brain trust for women speakers and thought leaders, led by Alexia Vernon. This group of female entrepreneurs and thought leaders are committed to helping other purpose-driven female entrepreneurs.

The Legacy Fund came from a portion of each member’s investment, and the group is getting ready to make its first investments in women founders. Legacy aims for this grant to help women-identified entrepreneurs in scaling the revenue and impact of their businesses.

In its inaugural year, The Legacy Fund will award two, unrestricted grants of $1500 to women-identified founders who serve as business leaders of for-profit or nonprofit businesses.

Plus, each recipient will receive a complimentary ticket to Alexia’s 2-day, Las Vegas speaker training event in 2022 ($397 value). Women-identified applicants who also identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, live with disabilities, chronic illness or survived trauma are particularly encouraged to apply.




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How Are Companies Asking Which Benefits Appeal to LGBTQ+ Families the Most?

In the past few years, people are becoming more and more open and accepting towards the LGBTQ+ community. However, there is still a lot more to be done in order to achieve a safe and welcoming society for the community, especially in the corporate world.

Most companies nowadays have been making changes and "diversifying" their employee pool and welcoming LGBTQ+ workers since people are more eager and confident in fighting for equal rights. This is a huge step forward in the corporate world especially when there are still places in which simply not conforming to gender roles would already be considered "unprofessional" and "unethical".

But are these companies doing enough to provide the benefits that would most appeal to LGBTQ+ families? How are they measuring that?

Pride and Joy Foundation created a survey in order to guide the companies towards the first step in realizing how much of a positive impact they can have on the lives of LGBTQ+ families. This is about how these companies...

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