Celebrating Pride Month: Say It Louder for the People in the Back

Posted on: Jun. 24, 2024 | , , | By: Daddy Long Legs

By Daddy Long Legs
Instagram: @dessertsandalcohol @d.n.a.haus

Growing up, we are taught to use our inside and outside voices. Our parents and teachers told us that inside, we are quiet and composed. We are listening and asking questions; paying attention and learning. When we are outside, it’s free for all. We are allowed to shriek, run around, and play. This is how I see the hospitality industry sometimes. Our inside voices are the roles we play—the various masks we don for service, for a paycheck, and for clout. Our outside voices are who we stifle. It’s the version of yourself that can’t wait to slide out of a uniform or belt out your favorite song in the car after clocking out. I learned from a young age that I did not have an inside or an outside voice. I was just LOUD.

Throughout my hospitality journey, this loudness has been both embraced and rejected. I vividly remember a manager telling me that I did not always have to be the loudest person in the room. I sat with that for a while and concluded that if I am always the loudest person in the room, why do I feel as though I am never heard? Why are queer, trans, and gender diverse folxs never heard? I am loud not only in tonality, but also in what I say and when I say it. Loudness is my entire being, but lack of safety, support, and inclusion in the industry have stolen parts of that from me. I’m reclaiming my time.

I speak loudly on the intersections of being a Black, Queer, and Non-Binary bartender. Navigating predominately white spaces for my entire career, I have found my credibility and my craft to be undermined because of this, but also because of how I vehemently defend who I am. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation has asked me to dive into how the hospitality industry can further champion queer, trans, and gender diverse folxs or how this industry has failed us and can do better. It’s a tough ask for me because I am just one person, and I find it impossible to speak for the collective of an entire group of people when the intersections of our experiences, identities, and needs are so vividly different. But maybe that is what I ask of each of you: to humanize us. 

Society is so good at lumping us all into different groups, checking off the boxes of who fits into the norm, and curating our narratives before we even decide to tell our stories. Queerness, transness, and gender diversity are not one-size-fits-all concepts. Few things in this world can be described to be so, but I argue this strongly for the sake of these communities. We are individually beautiful and multifaceted people, each bursting with strength, potential, and the desire to be included, accepted, and protected. 

Every day our identities are reduced to roles and titles within the hospitality industry. We are molded to fit into the white-centric heteronormative standards of professionalism while simultaneously being told to be grateful for the crumbs we receive. I believe that what hinders our industry is that queer, trans, and gender-diverse bodies are seen through the lens of tolerance. We are told to be ourselves, but over there away from the rest of the world. This prevents us from having autonomy over our bodies, being taken seriously in this industry and, most importantly, it prevents us from being protected. Y’all tell us to take pride in who we are but we only garner support OUT LOUD in June. The attention to the plight of queer, trans, and gender diverse folxs during this month is pertinent, but your support for the liberation of any marginalized group should not only be showcased when your calendar or your social media tells you to. 

Queer, trans, and gender-diverse folxs are always tasked with doing the labor of shrinking ourselves and our voices to be more accommodating to the masses. This is no different in the hospitality industry. Thankfully, there are safe workspaces curated for us to live authentically, but not everyone has access to those spaces. Because of this we fight for our right to exist, subject our identities to being tokenized, or we suffer in silence in hopes that things get easier. None of these options are sustainable. To exist in spaces that ask us to deny our truth, comfort, boundaries, and needs is suffocating, so for those of us who can, we resist. 

South African activist and artist Zanele Muholi says, “If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.” In 2023, we saw more than 400 anti-LGBTQIA2S+ laws introduced with the majority of them targeting trans and gender-diverse folxs. More than 30 states have introduced over 100 bills banning DEI efforts and practices in education and the workplace. Today—and for years—various parts of the world are participating in war and genocide fueled by power, greed, and racial/cultural biases. All of this suggests to me that we do not have a moment to not live as LOUDLY and as authentically as we desire, whether that be outside or inside of work. 

To the queer, trans, and gender diverse folxs who may come across this article, especially those that stand at the intersection of being BIPOC, please come closer and listen: BE FUCKING LOUD. Be loud in the love you pour into yourself and others. Be loud in the way you take up space. Be loud in your narrative and give no one else the power to tell you who you are. Be loud in your gifts, passions, and talents. Be loud in your demands for safety, support, and inclusion in your workspaces and beyond.

Maybe being loud won’t solve all of our problems in this industry, but if it did nothing at all, you wouldn’t be reading this. To those that ask how we can be better supported I leave you with this: Pride is a revolution and my contribution is the refusal to be defined, confined, or silenced every damn day. What’s yours?

The Lady Who Appears to be a Gentleman 

  • 1.25 oz Goat Cheese & Honey Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Strawberry Tomato Cordial
  • 0.75 oz Ten to One Caribbean Rum 
  • 0.5 oz Martini and Rossi Dry Vermouth 
  • 0.25 oz Lemon juice 

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with cold draft ice. Shake for 15-20 seconds until fully diluted. Strain into a double rocks glass over a large cube. Garnish with a dehydrated lemon and strawberry tomato gel made from cordial discard. 

Cocktail Inspiration

Inspired by the duality and fierceness of the legendary Storme DeLarverie, this cocktail embodies being just as loud as Storme lived. Homemade goat cheese and honey vodka create the foundation, providing a rich texture and sharpness to welcome the fruit-forward strawberry and tomato cordial. With notes of black pepper and cardamom, this cordial pairs wonderfully with dry vermouth to mute some of the sweetness while the blended Caribbean rum provides depth and complexity. This cocktail is an ode to rejecting the heteronormative standards of society and living our truth. Aptly named due to the association of rock glasses being “masculine,” this cocktail leans into playful femininity with its bright and juicy profile backed by a bit of funk. It defies limitations just like the ICONIC Storme DeLarverie.

About Daddy Long Legs

Daddy Long Legs is a Black, queer, and non-binary bartender based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and boast 10+ years of experience in the hospitality industry with a background in baking and pastry arts. Daddy is passionate about making noise for other BIPOC and Queer creatives in hopes that their talents and contributions are amplified in the hospitality industry and beyond. Diversity and Authenticity Haus (DNA Haus) is an artist collective started by Daddy Long Legs that aims to create events and programming that center multiple intersections of BIPOC and Queer multi hyphenates.

Instagram: @dessertsandalcohol @d.n.a.haus



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