Can food be used for good in the LGBTQ+ community? Dietitians and their clients can use these expert-approved tips to help include friends and family & invite them to have a seat at the table.
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"Breaking bread" is a phrase with religious roots. In the sacrament practices of some faiths, the act of breaking bread symbolizes a deeper, more internal change of heart and an intent to be better in the future. Can "breaking bread" with the LGBTQ+ community help promote connection and positive change?
Food can be used to unite different people over the same nourishing components we all need, regardless of identity. Everyone has a seat at the table where important discussions are happening as long as we all sit down at that table with open minds and hearts, much like our empty bellies ready to be fed.
Read on for seven stellar ideas on how to use food to fellowship the LGBTQ+ community.
June is Pride Month and there is a lot that we can do to better "break bread" with the LGBTQ+ community. At the end of the day, no matter what our beliefs are surrounding issues, everyone should be able to sit down to a meal in a safe space and be nourished by both the food and the company.
How we prepare, cook, and share our food communicates things that we might have trouble saying and can empower us and be an anchor during difficult transitions.
Consider the following ways you can use food to fellowship the LGBTQ+ community, either as part of your identity or as an ally.
How to Use Food to Fellowship the LGBTQ+ Community
Idea #1: Host a Pride Picnic
Those who identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum sometimes experience strained family dynamics and find belonging and support among what is commonly referred to as their "chosen family".
Consider hosting a meal in a safe space, and ask your friends in the LGBTQ+ community to join you in a celebration of friendship to honor their bravery and authenticity. If you are estranged from a family member who identifies as LGBTQ+, this would be a great time to reach out and rebuild burnt bridges.
It never hurts to ask what would make your guests feel honored, safe, and respected. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, simply start by communicating your intention to be a better ally.
Idea #2: Donate Food to a Local Resource Center
Local resource centers that advocate for the LGBTQ+ community usually thrive on the donations and generosity of their community. Do a little research and don't be afraid to call and ask what they are in need of.
Often non-perishables, pre-made or pre-packaged items, or snack food is a welcome donation at resource centers. These locations are often the first places struggling youth or skeptical adults go to get more information, and something as simple as fresh fruit on the counter or freshly baked cookies can help add to the warmth and welcoming environment already existing there.
Instead of donating leftover cans, try to be intentional about what you want to bring. Your donations can help to nourish bodies and souls, and promote health in a marginalized community.
Idea #3: Teach a Class at a Local Resource Center
Most resource centers have an activity coordinator. If you have any skills relating to health or food, consider donating your time or resources to their programs.
Ask what their needs are and get creative. If you identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, show how you have thrived and used your skills in the food industry while still being an advocate or ally.
Something as simple as teaching a cooking class can help to inspire the community and empower individuals with the skills they need to succeed in life.
Idea #4: Provide Food for Pride Parades
Most cities host some type of PRIDE parade (if yours doesn't currently, please consider looking into starting one and becoming a community advocate and ally). This is a great opportunity for the community to come together and see that there is support and unity.
As part of your unique city's celebration of love and equality for a community that faces daily discrimination, contact the parade organizers and ask what their policies and procedures allow you to donate in terms of food.
If allowed, provide snacks or water to the parade goers.
Other ideas include:
Donating free nutrition services during the parade
Donating your food truck or other business outputs free of charge
Circulate PRIDE parade flyers or information at your place of business prior to the event
Pass out coupons for your goods/services at the parade
Idea #5: Talk to Your Family and Friends over Dinner
People, and kids especially, learn by example. Teach those around you to not only be tolerant, but to be kind when they have opportunities to interact with the LGBTQ+ community.
Though it might not be typical dinner conversation, having discussions about gender, identity, and why it is important to treat people that are different than us with kindness can inspire actions outside the home.
If you have recently come out, sharing a meal with friends or family where they can openly ask you questions may help to foster a more aware support system and provide a good foundation for further progress.
The important idea to communicate in these conversations is that we have the capacity to be kind to people who are, act, or who believe differently than we do.
Idea #6: Be an Ally & Be Aware
There are so many ways to do this, but I am only going to suggest a few:
Be informed about LGBTQ+ issues in your community, especially as they relate to or impact human rights, nutrition risks, health, and food security
Support local LGBTQ+ run/ally businesses with your purchases or donations
Show that your business is an ally by communicating that your business is a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community (i.e. visible flag or logo, include inclusive language in your policies/procedures, train employees to respect preferred pronouns, have a PRIDE month promotion or limited edition item)
Idea #7: Display Pride Flags & Symbols
The rainbow flag is pretty much universal for LGBTQ+ PRIDE these days, and as such can be a simple way to communicate your support for the community in a small but important way.
Consider including a PRIDE flag as a centerpiece or more prominent decoration/motif as part of your business or company during the month of June. For example, putting a flag in a visible location by your hours of operation or an "open" sign can easily and quickly communicate that your business is a friend to the LGBTQ+ community.
Another great way to symbolize PRIDE is to experiment with all the colors of the rainbow! This can help add variety and excitement to your food, both visually and vitamin-wise.
Try creating drinks, desserts, and other dishes in every color using a healthy infusion of simple syrup. Royal Rose Syrups & Mixers are a simple yet health-centric way to elevate celebratory beverages. I recommend the ginger-lime, raspberry, blackberry, and orange vanilla.
The Bottom Line on Food & Pride
Pride month is a unique opportunity to "break bread" with the LGBTQ+ community. Consider the ways you can communicate your support for the health and nutrition of these individuals. Offering food and other intentional donations helps build bridges and close gaps.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Break bread. Dictionary.com. Accessed 2021.
This post was originally published by ANNI WEEKS on The Anni Feed, a previous version of this site. You can click here to view it.