Photo Credit: HRC

No business was immune to the negative effects of COVID-19 on clientele, products or staffing, but many small establishments have suffered to the point of permanent closure. The “Queer to Stay: An LGBTQ+ Business Preservation Initiative” was created by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Showtime in an effort to provide aid to struggling queer-owned establishments. After the success that “Queer to Stay” exhibited in 2020, the program this year has expanded to extend funding for the 20 selected businesses until the end of 2021.

One of the ten groups awarded funding in 2020 was Charlotte’s own Doyenne Barber Shop. Along with their mission to support LGBTQ businesses, HRC and Showtime are also seeking to engage racially diverse establishments as well. Operated by barbers Brown and Dunlap, Doyenne caters to people of color of all ages with options to shampoo, cut fades and receive eyebrow arching.

Brown and Dunlap have received incredibly positive customer reviews for their professionalism, attention to detail and child-specific accommodations. One parent writes, “my son had ZERO cuts, no bleeding and I saw his confidence shoot through the roof. When we got home, he stood in the mirror smiling and the first thing he said was he wants to go back and that they are better than the men barbers!”

Showtime officials announced the “Queer to Stay” renovations and updates this June as Pride Month rolled around with the intention of inspiring crowdfunding from LGBTQ supporters. With the inclusion of financial support from individuals, these businesses may also receive financial aid from generous friends and family as well as from HRC and Showtime. 

Says Chief Marketing Officer of Showtime, Michael Engleman: “Since the pandemic began, it’s been remarkable to see how different communities have come together to support each other in a time of crisis. The LGBTQ community has proven to be disproportionately impacted in almost all facets of society, compounding the importance of preserving and celebrating LGBTQ spaces.”

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