We are celebrating being 2 years in business.
We want to thank GayBC News @gaybcnews and host Brandon Carmody @brandonjcarmody for interviewing me about being in business for 2 years. This interview gave me the ability to talk about how we are passionate about our bow ties and making a difference in our community.
We are small company but we feel that we are making an impact in our community. The customer feedback is they like wearing a bow tie that gives back to the community. All bow ties are authentic hand-woven silk from the United Kingdom and hand made in the United States in the state of Vermont.
We are proud to be part of the Mid America Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. We excited to attend thsee national events to show our product:
- HRC Time to Thrive National conference
- Aids Walk Kansas City
- National Gay Lesbian National Conference
- New York Pride 2019 Pride Fest
- PFLAG National Conference
These are donations made this year:
This year we donated to Aids Walk Kansas City $300. The total donated in 2 years is $600
This year we donated to Center of inclusion $300 for LGBTQ promo. The total donated the in 2 years is $600.
This year we donated to Ko-Falen Cultural Center to sponsored 3 kids in Mali, Africa to go school for one year. Total amount donated is $360. The total kids sponsored in the last 2 years is 10. Total donations are $780.
We have also donated 4,500 bracelets this year that stated “www.gaypridebowties.com and Help Stop Bullying.” We gave the bracelets at no cost. The total cost for donating the bracelets are $900. In the last 2 years we have donated 11,000 bracelets for total cost of $2150
Overall donations and bracelets donated amount to $1,860. We sold 134 bow ties. The average donated including non-profit organization and bracelets per bow ties sold were $13.80
Other ways we are making a difference in our community:
When I created this company I did not think I would have to get involved politically. Little did I know, that would not be a true statement. It all started because HRC (Human Right Campaign) gave Olathe, KS a score of 7. What is a score made of, “HRC’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) demonstrates the ways that many cities can (and do) support their LGBTQ community, even when states and the federal government have failed to do so” per HRC website.
I was interviewed by Sean McDowell for Fox 4 News. I was disappointed and frustrated to be the person that was interview for the low score HRC score of 7 for the City of Olathe KS. I send email to Mr. Mayor Michael Copeland ask quick summary:
“I don’t think this is true representation of the community in Olathe, KS. My neighborhood is a very diverse that includes people of all races and backgrounds. Olathe is great place to live and everyone is welcomed. I know we are not as conservative as Wichita. Wichita has as score of 31.
Please let me know who will be or is currently working with Human Rights Campaign. It would be disappointing to know that Channel 4 Fox news did a story on how we did not take any steps to improve our score.”
The Mayor introduced me to Olathe Human Relations Commission (OHRC). They meet once a month & I have attended almost all of the meetings from November 2017. I have to give credit to Olathe Human Relations Commission for these actions:
When I started attending the meetings the OHRC did not know much about the HRC scores. That has changed. Every meeting we talk about HRC scores and what steps were taken to improve the scores.
• OHRC was introduced to Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. OHRC is now a member of Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
• The next 2 events were the first time that LGBTQ Pride Month was celebrated in Olathe, KS.
• June 24th Olathe Public Library showed the movie, “Love Simon” and had a panel discussion. The expected attendance was 20 people but 60 people showed up.
• June 28th Olathe Public Library event to meet author CJ Janovy creator of “No Place Like Home”. This event provided the opportunity for people to learn about local LGBTQ activism in Kansas.
• October 20th OHRC awarded “Olathe Human Relations Commission Humanitarian Award” to Cassandra Peters, she is the coordinator for Q-Space an LGBTQ youth center.
• November 26th OHRC provided training on LGBTQ experience. This training was made available to the public.
I am very proud of the work that OHRC has done in one year. Our city Olathe, KS needs to take the next steps to create a non-discrimination ordinance. I truly believe that if the LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance passes it will provided a voice for Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual and Queer people that are not protected today. I think it is our obligation to create a path where their voices can be heard. Where they will be safe to voice their opinions and where they will not fear of being bullied, fired, kicked out of their homes or denied medical services. We still have more work to complete. I have hope that positive movement will continue and City of Olathe will continue to make changes for a better future.
I applied to be part of the OHRC. My application was accepted. Next month the Mayor Michael Copeland will make my appointment official to be part of the Olathe Human Relations Commission. My goal in the OHRC is to remind the board that I am not gay, I am an ally, but by creating my company Gay Pride Bow Ties it has given me the opportunity to see how Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual and Queer people are not protected. That LGBTQ people are the least protected Americans. LGBTQ Teenagers have the highest suicide rate that any other teenagers. (Lack acceptance by parents and being bullied in school). There are more LGBTQ homeless people than anyone else, they are kicked out by the parents or can’t find a job because being who they are and are not accepted by society. I can only imagine being told that wanting to love someone of the same sex is a sickness, yet we are expecting people that are being rejected by society to stand up and let us know of their issues. They are not going to do this openly – I think it our obligation to create a path where their voices can be heard. Where they will be safe to voice their opinions and where they will not fear being bullied, fired, kicked out of their homes or denied medical services. We still have more work to complete.
Lastly every 2 weeks my dog Beethoven and I we volunteer at Kansas University Hospital. Where my dog and I proudly wear our bow ties. We see people that are depressed and need hope. Beethoven does an amazing job of cheering people. We also go see kids that sick by cancer, broken legs or just sick. My dog Beethoven & I will continue to do this until he is ready to retire.
Thank you for opportunity to talk about our journey.