Miller Lite is setting a goal to impact bars across the country through inclusivity training, town halls, and a US$250K donation to Equality Federation

Miller Lite and Equality Federation are announcing the “Open & Proud” programme, an initiative that aims to create safe, inclusive spaces at bars for the LGBTQ community.

The programme includes the development and implementation of inclusivity training materials for bar owners and employees at the 55,000 bars and nightclubs where the beer brand is sold. These training materials will be informed by intersectional LGBTQ experiences shared at town halls across the country.

Everyone deserves to be their authentic selves at any bar, but this isn’t always the case for members of the LGBTQ community. There are countless reports of LGBTQ folks feeling unwelcome at restaurants and bars and of LGBTQ people of colour and transgender and gender-nonconforming folks being discriminated against at LGBTQ bars.

As the beer that believes everyone should be able to be themselves all the time, Miller Lite partnered with Equality Federation to address this key concern in the community and take an impactful step toward ensuring all LGBTQ individuals feel accepted and welcomed.

“By listening directly to the unique intersectional needs of the LGBTQ community, Miller Lite is aiming to forge safer, more accepting spaces where we can have a direct influence – bars,” says Sofia Colucci, Vice President of Marketing, Miller Family of Brands. “Miller Lite has always stood strong in support of the LGBTQ community, and we are committed to learning and continuing to evolve through these efforts.”

The “Open & Proud” programme is composed of Townhall events across the country for LGBTQ individuals to attend and share their candid, open experiences and thoughts on how bars can be made more inclusive; The development of training materials for bars and restaurants across the country, informed by the insights shared at the town hall events; and a US$250K/£179K donation to Equality Federation to help advance workplace fairness and equality for LGBTQ individuals at national and local levels.

Markets where events will take place and the state-based members hosting them include Chicago (Equality Illinois), Atlanta (Georgia Equality), and New Jersey (Garden State Equality). Miller Lite will also conduct an LGBTQ Workplace Inclusion Workshop for New York-based bar and restaurant workers in partnership with The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York.

Miller Lite has partnered with Equality Federation since 2017 and made contributions that help fund the LGBTQ advocacy organisation’s various initiatives, including its annual Leadership Conference, workplace nondiscrimination efforts and transgender rights. The brand has donated a total of US$350K/£251K and plans to continue the partnership with future donations and impactful programming.

“Since 2017, Miller Lite has been a true advocate for our organisation at the national and local level, and the brand has a deep history of being an outspoken ally for the LGBTQ community,” says Fran Hutchins, Executive Director at Equality Federation. “Continuing our partnership, we’re excited to be supporting Open & Proud, a grassroots programme that takes a listening-first approach to help address the LGBTQ community’s unique challenges and needs as it relates to bars.”

“Open & Proud” is the next step in Miller Lite’s long journey of uplifting, amplifying and supporting LGBTQ individuals. From raising funds for local LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS nonprofits for more than 30 years to supporting the Equality Act, the brand has always strived to be the best ally it can be.

Miller Lite is also one of the first beverage companies to market directly to the community, dating back to the 1970s when it sponsored the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco and advertised in LGBTQ magazines like New Orleans’ Impact and Washington DC’s The Blade.

Molson Coors has also received a perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index every year since 2004 and was the recipient of their Corporate Equality Award in 2016. More recently, Miller Lite has supported the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which builds awareness to help prevent hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals.

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