More than 20 queer Brooklyn chefs and makers have come together for the Totes Gay fundraiser, filling tote bags with their artisanal products to sell in support of The Okra Project this Pride.
Prospect Heights queer-owned MeMe's Diner came up with the idea alongside Brooklyn-based collective Queer Soup Night. The initiative is to counter the "corporate" nature of last year's World Pride celebrations, MeMe's co-owner Libby Willis told Vogue.
Kopitiam, Babydudes, Fig & Pig Catering, Butch Judy's, Baz Bagel and Queer Candle Co. are contributing to the bags, which will be filled with an assortment of goodies, including turmeric popcorn, kimchi paste, bottled cocktails and benne wafers. The bags are $50 for five items and $150 for 15 items, with the contents of each coming as a surprise.
Wallis said the initiative was launched to financially support the queer community during Pride, as queer folks and businesses often donated their services or worked for less during the month. Totes Gay contributors are being paid for their contributions, and all the funds from the bags are being donated to The Okra Project.
Queer Soup Night creator Liz Alpern told Vogue The Okra Project was a natural fit for the donations, with its focus on providing Black trans people with home-cooked, healthy and culturally specific meals.
"So much of [the] focus among our friends right now is on Black Lives Matter, racial justice, and supporting the Black trans community in particular," Alpern said. "As queer chefs, our products can be inaccessible to a lot of people, and this is a way we can come together to show support. The Black trans people being fed by The Okra Project are the ones who started Pride in the first place."
You can order a Totes Gay bag online here, and they will be ready for collection at MeMe's Diner on Wednesday, July 1.