How to Support Phoenix’s LGBTQ Community This Pride Month

For Pride Month, and every month.

Pride Month in Phoenix typically brings a flurry of events—from the annual Phoenix Pride Festival to the Pride Parade—and with last year’s events being canceled, it’s a great opportunity to provide the LGBTQ+ community even more celebration and support in 2021 to make up for lost time (and business) from the pandemic. While the official festival and parade were rescheduled for this November, there are still plenty of ways you can support the community this Pride Month.

Trans Spectrum of Arizona - TSAZ
Courtesy of Trans Spectrum of Arizona - TSAZ

Donate your time, money, or skills to an LGBTQ nonprofit

First and foremost, the queer community still needs protection and resources—which are being delivered by several Phoenix-based nonprofits. Both One Community and the Greater Phoenix Equality Chamber of Commerce foster diversity and inclusivity in Phoenix’s business community and have directories of queer-owned businesses you can support. If you want to support LGBTQ+ youth, consider a donation or volunteer opportunity with one•n•ten—an organization that offers housing, workforce readiness training, health and wellness resources, leadership development, and more to those age 11 to 24. They’ve also done amazing things during the pandemic to serve youth virtually and socially distanced through online programming, free meal pickups, and emergency assistance. Trans Spectrum of Arizona also accepts donations to continue its work for the state’s trans community—offering safe, confidential support group meetings for transgender identified or questioning individuals and their allies.

Read up on queer issues

If you want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, OUTvoices, previously known as Echo Magazine, is a great resource. It’s served as Phoenix’s largest and most widely read queer news source for more than 30 years. The magazine, written by LBGTQ+ writers and allies covers topics ranging from policies affecting the LGBTQ+ community to profiles on queer business leaders and gay friendly events.

Busted 2 Bangin owners
Busted 2 Bangin owners | Courtesy of busted2bangin

Shop queer-owned local businesses

Put your money where your mouth is by shopping at one of Phoenix’s LGBTQ+-owned businesses. Now or Never is owned by partners in business and life Jason Shelby and Wade Parkins who moved their high-end boutique from Tucson to Phoenix in late 2020. Shoppers can look forward to clothing items from hard-to-find brands like Maison Margiela alongside furniture, body care and decorative home items. If you’re planning to expand your exotic plant collection, look no further than The Sagebrush AZ—a swoon-worthy plant shop in downtown Mesa. For more chic home décor, check out Busted 2 Bangin owned by partners of more than ten years—Eric Jimenez and Garrett Loomis. The two had successful careers in the beauty industry before realizing their love of renovating and decorating in 2015—ultimately opening Busted 2 Banging at the beginning of the pandemic. Find trendsetting pieces in the shop or hire the lovingly dubbed ‘dynamic duo’ for interior design services. Plus, you can find several other LGBTQ+ shops to support cruising down Melrose—the hub of Phoenix’s ‘gayborhood.’  

Dine at a LGBTQ+ owned restaurant

Led by community superstar and James Beard Award-winner Chef Silvana Salcido, Barrio Cafe is a must-visit this summer. The eatery has been serving up traditional Mexican dishes like the Cochinita Pibil and Chiles en Nogada since 2002. Fez is another Phoenix favorite thanks to its fun, retro décor, and Mediterranean-inspired American food menu of must-try dishes like the Gyro Pita, Fez-chiladas and Balsamic Bleu Burger. Bliss ReBAR, which boasts a shared owner and member of the LGBTQ community, Mark Howard, is another downtown hotspot known for its late night eats like the Bliss Famous Mac-N-Cheese and Vintage Nachos. For an especially great time, opt for the Group Therapy by Smirnoff—a group cocktail with orange and strawberry vodka, banana and peach liquors and finished with fresh juice.

Bitters Bar & Food Bloody Mary
Courtesy of Bitters Bar & Food

Have a drink at your neighborhood gay bar

Bitters in Scottsdale owned by Erika Rode is the perfect place to enjoy a crisp, craft cocktail while supporting a queer entrepreneur. Our favorite is the summer-appropriate cocktail called The Bitter Ex with organic vodka, habanero, mango, falernum, and lime.  

Dubbed ‘Phoenix’s favorite gay bar’ you can’t conclude your Pride Month festivities without a trip to Charlie’s—conveniently located in the Melrose neighborhood. The country-themed bar has a huge dancefloor, patio and the best drag shows in town. Located less than a mile away is Stacy’s, another Melrose district favorite that’s offering Pride events, great drinks and drag shows. Plus, the neighborhood bar is known for giving back to local and national LGBTQ+ causes.

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Jamie Killin is a Phoenix native and Arizona State graduate who specializes in lifestyle and features writing. You can usually find her at the spin studio, a concert, or trying new restaurants across the Valley. Follow her at @jamiefayekillin.