This was the GAYEST bake sale EVER, so far...
Salt Lake City queer activists Kat Kellermeyer and Hillary McDaniel were devastated by the news that the church they both grew up in was supporting a lawsuit by a Colorado bakery shop owner who refused on religious grounds to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The friends met at a local bakery to eat their feelings and talk about what they could do to help raise awareness about the case and support LGBT+ youth in their community who were also devastated by the news. In a matter of days they acquired a spontaneous gathering permit, created a press release, set up a Facebook event page, and started hitting up local bakeries for donations. "Calling this the "GAYEST EVER" was pretty bold - we know someone can do a bigger, gayer bake sale and raise even more money. Your move, San Francisco!" - Hillary McDaniel, queer activist. The two created the website, gayestbakesaleever.com to share what they learned and to help others start bakes sales in their local communities.
1. YOU'RE GOING TO NEED A SPREADSHEET
From idea to conception, this action took about 4 days to plan. We had so many people offering to help and we needed a way to empower them. We made a Google spreadsheet to track everything that needed to get done. We added a tab to keep track of local bakeries that we could hit up for donations. See a template of our spreadsheet here. We also created a private group on Facebook and added friends who wanted to help as they sent us messages. You can find instructions on how to create a Facebook page here.
2. Choose a STRATEGIC LOCATION
We wanted to do our rally and bake sale in view of the LDS Church Office Building. This location is also down the street from the Utah State Capitol, so we thought it was a good metaphor for the intersection of church and state. This location has a lot of traffic driving by during the morning and evening commutes and we wanted employees at the church office building to see us as they left work. You should also consider what places in your city allow for rallies and protests.
3. CHOOSE A STRATEGIC TIME OF DAY
Every city is different, so it is important to think about what time of day will give your event the most visibility. We wanted to do this when people were getting off of work and were out driving already. We went from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Set up was at 4:00 pm and we were all cleaned up and out of there by 8:00 pm. It is also helpful to find other events happening to make sure you aren't doing your event in competition with another event. You may even want to reach out to someone having a large event and ask if you can host a bake sale with them. For example, the local ACLU and Black Lives Matter chapters were hosting film screenings on the same day. As part of our promotion of the event, we encouraged patrons to come buy some baked goods on their way to the films.
4. GET A PERMIT
This will vary from state to state. Salt Lake City requires a "Spontaneous Free Expression" permit for activities occurring due to news or affairs coming into public knowledge fewer than 14 days before the activity. If we would have planned 30 days ahead, we would have needed a "Free Expression" permit which costs about $100. Check with local activists in your city or make some phone calls to find out what is required. The permit process was online, painless - we had to make a map of our location and we just used a screenshot from Google maps and MS paint. See example map here. See our city website here.
5. CHOOSE A CHARITY FOR DONATIONS
We wanted the proceeds to go directly to our local community since news like this impacts queer Mormons and queer people with Mormon families the most. We called the Utah Pride Center and asked them if we could collect donations specifically for LGBT+ youth suicide prevention programs. The Trevor Project is also a great national organization to consider for donations.
6. WRITE AND SEND A PRESS RELEASE
A press release is the best way to get the information out about your event to local and national media outlets. Here is a link with tips for writing a great press release or you can use ours as a template. Our press release focused on the LDS church's involvement - choose something unique to your community. See our press release here.
We reached out to our activist friends to get lists of local press contacts. If you don't have anyone to reach out to, do a Google search for your local ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX stations as well as local radio stations and NPR affiliates. We combined all the lists together and started sending emails with the subject line "Press Release - GAYEST bake sale EVER!" to get their attention. We created a new gmail account so we could manage the emails easier. You will need to choose a person or two as the media contact - if you are worried about having your personal phone number out there, consider getting a Google voice phone number.
7. CREATE AN EVENT PAGE
We created our event page on Facebook and just used the text from the press release as the details. You can see our original Facebook event here.
8. CONTACT LOCAL BAKERIES
This was one of the most time consuming activities that required the most coordination. See the local bakeries tab of our spreadsheet to see how we organized this. We made a list of as many local bakeries as possible and we had volunteers put their names next to a few that they had time to contact. As we contacted them, we updated the spreadsheet with donation and pick-up information so we could assign people to pick things up on the day of the event. It was critical to have manageable tasks for people to do - we did not expect people who called the bakeries to also be available to pick up the baked goods. We did not expect people picking up goods to call the bakeries. This was a great way to organize people and tasks.
9. GAY PLAYLIST = GAYLIST
This event would not have been as fun without music! Find a local musician who has a PA system and see if they will volunteer to run sound for you. Make a killer playlist and watch the people dance. We made a Spotify playlist that can be found here.
You can't have the GAYEST bake sale EVER without rainbows! We contacted our local Pride Center about borrowing rainbow flags and anything else they used to decorate for the annual Pride Festival. We also had a few volunteers who stepped up to loan or buy some decorations. We went to a party supply store and bought rainbow-colored plastic table cloths and a few other small items. You really don't need much to make it super gay. Check out pictures from our event here for ideas.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASES AND LETTERS
Media Contact: Hillary McDaniel, email@example.com, (801) 380-4248
Facebook Page: GAYEST Bake Sale EVER
NEWS STORIES ABOUT OUR BAKE SALE
KAKE Television (ABC affiliate): What's Trending: Double Jeans, 'Gayest Bake Sale Ever'
State of Belief Radio: THE GAYEST BAKE SALE EVER!
The Salt Lake Tribune: 'Gayest Bake Sale' organizers ask Mormon church for $4.4K donation
STORIES ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT CASE
TELL DALLIN HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT HIS CONFERENCE TALK
High-ranking LDS apostle, Dallin H. Oaks doubled down on the church's opposition to gay marriage when he gave a divisive talk during the Saturday morning session of the 187th Semiannual General Conference. See story in the Salt Lake Tribune here