The LGBT Supermarket!
Providing a wholesome social experience for LGBT people with vibrant staff and unique shopping experience. Not just for gay people! #pride
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Idea (hoping to get started in the future)
1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Loneliness in the LGBT community, especially in youth, the unacceptably high LGBTQ youth suicide rate (40% of LGBT students have considered suicide), the transgender suicide rate (30-45% have attempted), how we lack a wholesome place to gather other than bars and Night Clubs that may be contributing to the perpetuation of HIV/AIDS and high rate of Drug/Alchohol abuse in the our community, and Trans work-place discrimination.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
I aim to establish the first Gay Supermarket. I know this idea will forever change society for LGBT youth and adults. As a gay youth I currently have no place to go and meet people like me. All the Gay Clubs are 18+. The establishment would be open to all kinds of people, gay straight, young or old. It would be supported by a constant influx of LGBT frequenters and even curious heterosexuals! It would also be a community center with somesort of Coffee Shop or food court for us to gather. NO ALCHOHOL WILL BE SERVED. It is a pure, wholesome gay family friendly environment. Closeted individuals will have a place to run to and meet fellow LGBT people without having to come out! And socializing with them may give them the courage to do so! In the future we can extend our chain to states where the gay community suffers and has no hearth. This will be so beneficial to the gay community and self sustainable, as we will sell produce and hire a colorful staff of drag queens to make shopping exciting and attract more customers!
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
Many people when they first hear my idea are affronted. They believe it is discrimination. They don't see WHY there is a need for a Gay Supermarket. They think it's ridiculous and even laughable, but they could never understand the loneliness gay youth and trans youth experience, our silent sequestration in a hetero-normative society. It is imperative it be understood that this is NOT just for gay people. It is open to people to all kinds, just as we want society to accept us! It is geared towards LGBT people in providing a place to gather but it is also geared towards non LGBT people in providing a unique shopping experience.
5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Many have made attempts at creating LGBT hearths in our society, but I think there is still a need for widespread, sustainable LGBTQ hearths. My people have been forced into Nightclubs as their only method of meeting people like them. These institutions likely contribute to high rates of Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the gay community and perpetuation of AIDS. And while there are small gay coffee shops and book stores that mainly sell towards LGBT people, my establishment will have a wider margin for profit as we are selling produce to all types of people!
6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
I know this idea will make a difference, because I, as a gay youth WISH I had a place to meet people like me. The LGBT community is starved of a wholesome, family oriented hearth. They have been forced into a lonely lifestyle filled with hook-up culture and lack of family. My project can help the AIDS epidemic, and the gay suicide rate, especially in youth and trans individuals. In many places, transgender people, flamboyant people and gender non-conforming people have a hard time getting hired being themselves. They face heavy discrimination for living their truth. My establishment will hire them encouraging them to be their beautiful, and flamboyant selves! Our bright establishment would even attract people who aren't even LGBT, due to the unique shopping experience we offer. Society will lift the LGBT community out of dark gaybars and into a bright, wholesome and accepting community!
7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Social media campaigns, prominent LGBT advocates for my idea in the mainstream media, and the support of LGBT foundations
8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?
I will try my best to get in contact with prominent LGBT individuals in the media like Ellen and Ru Paul, to see if they could support of promote my idea. However, as I am only 17 I can only do so much in starting a business, especially a big business like a Super Market. I have the support of my loving and accepting parents and will be starting a website very soon.
9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.
I live in the wake of the Parkland Shooting, having many friends who actually attend MSD. I have seen my best friends push for change in this country. I have personally questioned my representatives face to face about policies being enacted and have lead chants in our school walkouts. I am part of a very active youth who has been forced to mature and rally behind the loss of the 17 fallen angels, one of which was my friend's boyfriend. I know I have the motivated support of my friends and a strong social media platform where I could share my ideas and raise money.
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian) (7)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
Communities of color
How did you hear about this challenge?
Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?
Jay Versace on Instagram