In light of recent interactions on social media concerning race and gender identity, CocktailQTs wish to address the outdated and unacceptable views displayed by some high profile members of our industry.
Sadly, as an organisation dedicated to fostering community between LGBTQIA+ hospitality workers, we are all too aware of how prevalent homophobic, transphobic, racist, ableist and misogynistic mentalities are in this industry, from your local pub to the world’s best bars. Whilst progress is slowly being made in some areas, and the industry has so many active allies, it is still abundantly clear that firm decisive action is needed from bar owners and industry figure heads to instil a culture of active inclusion in their bars and teams.
Some may believe that these issues are somehow isolated and external to our venues and our industry; They are not. Many of our members have endured dismissals, insults, attacks and reprimands for our queer identities, often in a culture of racist, homophic and transphobic ‘jokes’. Worse, there is still a segment of our society which refuses to acknowledge the existence and identities of trans, genderfluid and non binary individuals. This mentality belongs with the dinosaurs, and is a disservice to our industry as a whole.
As one of our members put it “Say a scientist tells you that blue whales exist and you have never seen one. So you only search the river Thames and upon finding no blue whales claim that blue whales cannot exist. It is not the case that blue whales aren’t real, but that you have failed to put in the work to find them”. A lack of personal experience with something is no grounds to dismiss its existence.
We are calling for active inclusion. This means not simply taking a passive stance, but actively training teams on issues affecting their colleagues and customers, vocally calling out others in the industry who aren’t working in a progressive way, and recognising and avoiding reactive or dismissive responses when called out on sub standard behaviour. It is imperative to take time to listen and learn.
At this time, CocktailQTs calls on ALL industry leaders, bar owners and managers to take time to educate yourselves on the issues effecting queer, BAME & gender non conforming people, then to start working on training a mentality of active inclusion into your teams.
CocktailQTs invites all LGBTQIA+ members of the industry to join our Facebook group as a place of support, and is happy to provide support and learning materials to those wishing to foster more inclusive workplaces.
The CocktailQTs Admins
(Malayka Al-abdullah, Hannah Lanfear, Peter Lewis, Josh Powell, Lexa Ulijaszek Scott)
Cocktail QTs Collective is a London-centric LGBTQI+ network for those working within the cocktail and spirits industry. The group runs quarterly events throughout the year which, along with its online presence, bring together queer industry members in support and community.