Queerency publishes guide to Christmas presents

After a brief delay, the media company and the weekly newsletter Queerency will appear on December 15 with its Christmas shopping guide, according to its founder and CEO Travers Johnson.

“This guide contains over 300 queer-owned companies and brands,” Johnson, a queer man himself, told the Bay Area Reporter. “They range from clothing to books to woodwork, as well as discounts on queer social networks and dating sites.”

(The original version of that story said the gift guide would be out on December 14. This was postponed for a day because “we had some technical problems on our side,” Johnson said.)

Johnson, based in Austin, Texas, is a freelance editor who has worked with Penguin Random House. He said he founded Queerency in July 2020.

“As a black, queer cisgender man, I could see myself portrayed as a cisgender man in mainstream business publications,” Johnson said. “As a black man, I could see myself represented in several publications … but when it came to seeing myself represented as a queer person in entrepreneurship, I didn’t see any outlets that consistently or deeply represented the queer community, so I thought, ‘Why not I?'”

Johnson, 35, said he wanted to “create the content and provide a home for business storytelling”.

“We report on queer companies and entrepreneurs,” said Johnson. “We want to be a hub for people who are already small business owners or entrepreneurs, but also for people who are ‘would-be’ – people with a traditional job who want to become self-employed and do their part-time job a full-time business or a full-time Source of income. “

Johnson said the past year was spent doing research and making connections.

“We follow many of these companies on Instagram, and they follow us,” said Johnson. “It’s been 12 to 18 months to nurture relationships with these brands, discover them on social media, and spread the visibility of queer-owned companies.”

Johnson said Queerency attended the Google News Initiative Startups Lab boot camp last year. Its director, Phillip Smith, has been a queerency coach for 15 months.

Long story: Queerency applied for bootcamp more than a year ago. I would have to look up the application and review the notes to give you details of moxie and grit which we believe are required for eight week professional development which is very practical and intense, “said Smith, a direct ally. “I would say Travers and Queerency proved that with their application and subsequent participation in the program.”

Smith said, “In particular, we are looking for individuals or small teams with experience who connect them to the community they work for, and also some evidence that they have the support they receive, either through their own experience or from mentors and colleagues who help them succeed. ”

“In Travers’ case, he came to boot camp with both editorial and business skills,” said Smith. “The idea has gotten quite refined in my opinion … and what was evident was constant month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter growth.”

Smith coached Travers in growing an audience and building revenue.

“It was a completely different experience coaching Travers after bootcamp … and seeing him keep launching new products, posting viral hits on Instagram, and new editorial packages like the directory of LGBTQ + companies for. could introduce Proud Month. “

That directory focuses “less on gifts and product-based businesses and more on all kinds of different businesses – product and service-based,” said Johnson.

Earlier this year, Johnson also compiled a list of 100 women, “including 100 queer and transgender women in four categories who are making progress and making history in business.”

When it comes to the Christmas gift guide, 2021 is the second part.

Johnson said that “it’s hard to name but there are all kinds of brands and products from clothing to books to crafts.”

Nonetheless, he highlighted a queer dating platform called Her that is marketed to lesbian, queer, bisexual, and straight women and non-binary people. It offers the readers of the gift guide a premium subscription trial version.

“The gift instructions will come with a code that you can use to download Her and create an account,” said Johnson.

In response to a request for comment on December 14th, a spokeswoman for Her, who only mentioned her name as Devin, replied that “HER was created by queers for queers, gender-unconforming people a safe place to find love and fellowship – alongside such great LGBTQ people -Companies too! This Christmas season is a tough time – in these uncertain times we want to give our queer community a chance to connect and know that it is they who are not alone. “

Johnson said his ultimate goal is to switch to queerency full-time.

“We want to show the diversity, depth and breadth of queer innovation,” he said.

Updated: December 14th at 9:40 am: The original version of this story stated that the gift guide would appear on December 14th. According to Travers Johnson, this has been delayed by a day due to “a technical problem on our side”.

Updated 12/14/21: This column has been updated to include a comment from her.

Updated 12/14/21: Updated this column to clarify that Travers Johnson is a freelance editor and not a contributor to Penguin Random House.

The LGBTQ Agenda is a weekly online column. Do you have a tip about queer messages? Contact John Ferrannini at [email protected]

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