Vulcan Beverage Issues Apology; Embody Progress Conference Provides Needed LGBTQ Competency Trainings
Yesterday, thanks to hundreds of responses from LGBTQ community members and their supporters, Vulcan Beverage replaced their transphobic sign and issued an apology. Below is their response and today’s corresponding signage:
UPDATE: As of 10:41PM on January 15, 2017 Vulcan Beverage has changed the sign and issued an apology on their Facebook page. "I would like to apologize on behalf of this company for the sign recently presented in front of our store. We apologize to anyone offended by this. None of us would knowingly make a joke at the expense of a group of people, especially one already marginalized and so frequently mocked in our society. That wasn’t at all the intent, and it didn’t occur to us it could be seen that way when it was made. I have made many mistakes in life and I am sure I have a few more to go. Please forgive us and know we show extreme support for this culture at large."
We appreciate the business owner for acknowledging their mistake and responding to the calls of the community. This instance, however, highlights how allyship is a lifelong journey of growth, not a badge that validates one’s actions. Standing in solidarity with others requires stepping out of your comfort zone and taking proactive steps to challenge oppression, and it means taking time to educate yourself about how best to do that. Inevitably, mistakes will be made, and we urge allies of any movement to make those moments opportunities for growth instead of stagnation.
In that spirit, we’ll be reaching out to Vulcan Beverage to provide cultural competency training and have a dialogue on ways they can support the trans community in Birmingham (and everywhere else) in the future. We hope they accept this offer and take meaningful steps to improve their allyship. In the meantime, we look forward to hosting the Embody Progress Conference this summer in Birmingham to educate attendees from around the nation on the issues facing the LGBTQ community, including the lack in competency of services for trans and gender nonconforming individuals. Thank you to everyone who spoke out yesterday, and we encourage you all to continue raising your voices against injustice.
To learn more about the Embody Progress Conference, including how to register and submit a workshop proposal, visit conf.embodyprogress.org.