Loud and Proud: Stoli Canvasses the Country to Celebrate Pride

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday June 24, 2020

Coronavirus can't stop Pride. Communities around the world are rallying in innovative ways to have their LGBTQ voices heard. Stoli vodka is at the forefront, continuing its longtime support with a roster of can't-miss events this Pride season, and year-long partnerships that empower queer people to live loud and proud.

"I've seen countless lives changed over the years," says Stoli LGBT Manager and Brand Ambassador Patrik Gallineaux, who has conceived and launched innovative partnerships between the heritage brand and the nation's most acclaimed LGBTQ nonprofit organizations, events and advocates. "Stoli has always championed and stood for those who are passionate and daring. LGBTQ people often have to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to live their truths. We're here to support them, and to create exciting ways to give them a platform to express their true selves."

Stonewall Day, Pride Live and Happy Hour at the Abbey

Pride Live, a social advocacy and community engagement organization for the LGBTQ community, will host its third annual Stonewall Day, a global campaign to elevate awareness and support for the Stonewall legacy and the continuing fight for full LGBTQ equality.

On Friday, June 26, Stonewall Day will present a virtual fundraising event to raise critical funds for four LGBTQ organizations severely affected by COVID-19 and the recent events highlighting the need for fair and equal treatment under the law for all: TransLifeline, Brave Space Alliance, [email protected] Coalition, and The Ally Coalition.

The live stream event (1 p.m. — 3 p.m. ET) includes special appearances by President Barack Obama, Cynthia Erivo, Kesha, Christian Siriano, Donatella Versace, Chelsea Clinton, Dustin Lance Black, Valerie Jarrett, Nico Tortorella, Imara Jones, Luke Evans, Bethany C. Meyers, Conchita WURST, Demi Lovato, George Takei, Taylor Swift, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Alok Menon, Ellen DeGeneres, Katy Perry, Chely Wright, Stonewall Day National Chair Geena Rocero, Pride Live Board President Dr. Yvette C. Burton and more.

Stoli will host the Stonewall Day virtual happy hour at The Abbey streaming via The Abbey's Facebook page, from 5 p.m. — 6 p.m. (PST), which promises to digitally whisk participants away to one of West Hollywood's most legendary LGBTQ hot spots.

Co-hosts Jai Rodriguez (TV's original "Queer Eye") and Patrik Gallineaux (Global LGBTQ+ Ambassador for Stoli Group) will welcome all to join Abbey bartenders as they create unique Stonewall Day libations and meet special guests including The Abbey's CEO/Founder and Stonewall Day Ambassador David Cooley. Also, anyone who donates during the Stonewall Day Happy Hour at The Abbey will be automatically entered into a drawing to win a case of Stoli vodka, which will be shipped to the winner anywhere in the continental U.S.

Central to this year's event is a Text2Give campaign, with proceeds benefitting the resources, programming, and services offered by the four Stonewall Day beneficiaries. Simply text REBEL to 243725 to donate to the Pride Live Stonewall Day fund. When prompted, reply YES to confirm the donation. The fundraising event is presented in partnership with Logo, Nasdaq, Pride Media and WarnerMedia.

Stonewall Day, launched by Pride Live in 2018, is a national day of awareness to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. This year's event will speak out in support of #BlackLivesMatter and address LGBTQ issues, including the dangerous rise of violence facing transgender women, especially Black trans women.

"COVID-19, and the recent events that have placed a national and global spotlight on the need for fair and equal treatment for all people, has impacted so many around the world and the LGBTQ+ community has not been immune. This has resulted in vital and life-saving LGBTQ+ organizations having to severely amend their budgets and programs. Our hopes are Stonewall Day can assist our beneficiaries in continuing their work and service to the community," said Dr. Burton.

"From Martha P. Johnson's revolution at Stonewall to the recent murder of Riah Milton, the protection of trans people of color continues to be the litmus test of freedom and equal opportunities. Policies such as the Trump administration's reversed protections for transgender people in the U.S. health care, add the disproportionate effect of fatal violence, impacted by the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia across the communities and families," Dr. Burton continued.

Stoli's Pride celebrations continue throughout the week with these two can't-miss events:

Dallas Voice Virtual Pride
Sunday, June 28
2 p.m. 3:30 p.m. (CDT)
Stoli joins the Dallas Voice for its first-ever digital Pride experience, which will feature a lineup of local and national performers, never-before-seen footage from past Pride events, giveaways and more.

"Now more than ever, it is our duty to stand up and make our voices heard," said Executive Producer of Dallas Voice Pride Party Chad Mantooth. "We need to stand up to injustice, stand up to inequality, and stand up for those who don't have a voice at all in the fight for freedom."

Susanne Bartsch Presents "On Top of the World: Pride 2020"
Sunday, June 28
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. (ET)

Susanne Bartsch, known as New York City's patron saint of transformation and inclusion, has been throwing parties for three decades, and COVID-19 isn't going to slow her down. This virtual event brings together nightlife icons from around the world, including Latrice Royale (Florida), Amanda Lepore (New York City), Baby Jane (Berlin), Asher Levine (Los Angeles), Ansoni (Tokyo), Mouse (London), and many more.

Category is: "Show Us Your Pride!"
Participants are encouraged to dress to impress, with makeup and a look that embodies their personal sense of Pride. The grand prize winner will receive a case of Stoli Vodka and $2,000 worth of MAC cosmetics, with second and third place winners each, also receiving a case of Stoli.

Bartsch threw her first party at Savage, a club below the infamous Chelsea Hotel. Over the years, she has hosted several incarnations of The Love Ball to raise awareness and raise funds to those affected by AIDS and HIV/AIDS-related organizations.

The event will support the nightlife community, with a portion of proceeds be donated to The Ali Forney Center.

The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic
Since 2014, Stoli has been "Serving Pride" with this best-in-class event series, by celebrating the legacy of our LGBTQ bars as original community centers and safe spaces and the bar stars who continue to serve pride in this tradition today.

Each year, competitors in 12 to 18 different markets complete in preliminary rounds that lead to the Pride Week Finale in Key West, Florida. All regional Stoli Key West champions are paired with a local charity in the Keys, and each also selects an LGBTQ beneficiary from their hometown, with all prize dollars won by the bartenders being donated directly to each winner's charities.

In partnership with the Key West Business Guild, the SKWCC has become a true destination event of prestige, passion and playtime in Florida's quintessential vacation town.

"The best part of Stoli's LGBTQ+ programming in 10-plus years with the brand has been the opportunity to partner with outstanding community organizations such as Pride Live and the Key West Business Guild, while also shining a spotlight on the individuals, organizations, and businesses that are the heartbeat for progress for our LGBTQ+ community," says Gallineaux. "Despite challenging times at hand, it is this creativity and resilience of our community, which Stoli champions with all our programming, that provides the greatest sense of hope and Pride this year."

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.