Earlier this year, WOW Tech announced the Pride Fund, an initiative aiming to make a positive impact in LGBTQ+ communities across Canada and the United States by providing funding to local pleasure product retailers. Retailers were encouraged to apply to fund projects, such as fundraising, hosting an event, or activating a creative idea that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community.
Fourteen winners were selected by a committee comprised of pleasure product professionals and sexual wellness experts, including Sarah Tomchesson (Pleasure Brand Consultant, Damiana Productions); John Marinello (Senior Territory Manager and pjur Team Lead, WOW Tech Group); Adam Maurer (LMFT, LPC, Moontower Counseling); and, Shanae “HonestyNae” Adams (Sexuality Professional, HonestyNae).
“We’re honored to be supporting retailers throughout North America who are meaningfully contributing to their local community for Pride Month,” said Stephanie Keating, WOW Tech Director of Marketing, Americas. “The response to the WOW Tech Pride Fund was inspiring and we received a range of creative proposals. It was endearing to learn more about what Pride means to partners and how they want to make a difference for their LGBTQ+ community.”
Winners and their respective projects include:
The Pretty Pussycat (Bend, Oregon)
The Pretty Pussycat hosted adult prom for their LGBTQ+ community to create the opportunity for people to attend prom as their authentic selves. The event featured a red carpet, a booth set up with community resources and pleasure-based education, and even crowned a Prom Court.
WinkWink (Bellingham, Washington)
WinkWink is hosting “Reflect the Spectrum,” which offers affirming photography sessions for 25-40 queer and trans people, followed by Queers Night Out, a celebrational dance party. In addition to being treated to these services, the event will offer a safe space for queer and trans participants to learn how to style themselves.
Eclectica (Moscow, Idaho)
Eclectica is sponsoring drag shows with the goal to draw donors for Inland Oasis, an organization that runs a food pantry that serves over 1,000 local people per month, as well as maintaining a community center that hosts support groups and social events for the LGBTQ+ community. The event is scheduled to take place in August, in hopes of engaging students from the University of Idaho and Washington State University.
Museum of Sex (New York City)
Museum of Sex will screen the Sex Workers Project documentary “Sex(ual) Healing.” The objective of the documentary is to help understand the complexity sex work, recognize the harmful impact of existing laws, and change the way we talk about criminality, sex, and consent. Following the screening, there will be a discussion on restorative justice with advocate Marlee Liss and a BDSM workshop.
Babeland (New York City)
Babeland is hosting a virtual trivia fundraiser where attendees answer questions about the history of Pride, how queer culture has played such a strong role in in the history of sex toys, and other fun and exciting trivia questions for the chance to win a variety of prizes. Money raised will benefit the Transgender Law Center.
Wild at Heart (Seattle, Washington)
Wild at Heart is organizing the “Out of Your Closet” pop-up clothing swap for any trans and GNC (gender non-conforming) individuals to give away their pre-transition clothing and take home items that allow them to present themselves as their best, most-authentic selves.
Enchantasys (Fargo, North Dakota)
Enchantasys will set up a booth at their local “Pride in the Park” celebration, where they can connect with the community and help raise funds for local inclusive medical care and housing organizations. They will raffle baskets and silent auction spa packages to raise money for these organizations.
Hoelistic (Columbus, Ohio)
The Hoelistic Pride Brunch is hosting a gathering June 19, in tandem with Juneteenth. It will welcome the LGBTQ+ community during the Columbus Pride celebration, particularly BIPOC people who can often feel unsafe, unwelcomed or unappreciated at most Pride events.
Venus Envy Ottawa (Ottawa, Ontario)
Venus Envy is creating a Pride Pop-Up Shop during Ottawa Pride Week, offering a curated selection of toys, books, pride products and gender affirming gear. They plan to provide an educational hub where people can talk about gender, pleasure, relationships, kink, books, safe sex, tips for compression clothing and more. They will also host a series of workshops at the Pride Pop-Up, including Sex Toys for Queers, Strap-On Tools, Trans Sex 101, and Queering. Venus Envy recently was forced to shut down their store due to fire damage, and this is an opportunity to offer their services in-person again.
Good for Her (Toronto, Ontario)
Good for Her is hosting a workshop to talk about ableism in the queer community, tips for pleasure for people with disabilities while showcasing the new disability-friendly sex toy the Bump’n Joystick and WOW Tech products that are compatible with the Joystick.
Come As You Are (Toronto, Ontario)
Come As You Are will use their funding to expand their low-cost gender-affirming clothing program to include gear for trans-feminine people and non-binary people. For many years, they’ve been running a chest binder recycling program to ensure that anyone who needs a binder can obtain one for free or at a low cost.
The Feltt (Toronto, Ontario)
The Feltt is partnering with queer party promoter FIT Primpin to create an immersive pleasure room.. The event will emphasize community gathering and feature an art installation and performances, giving queer and trans BIPOC artists, designers and performers to more visibility and recognition of their work. They will also feature a booth dedicated to harm reduction practices and safe play.
Sexxy Kitty (Lethbridge, Alberta)
Sexxy Kitty will host a clothing event where the LGTBQ+ community can “shop” donated items from the Lethbridge community, in safe space to find gender-affirming clothing. They’ve partnered with OUTreach Southern Alberta Society, a 2SLGBTQIA+ advocacy and non-profit organization that provides programming, resources, and education to the local community.
Smitten (Brandon, Manitoba)
Smitten is organizing a family pride event co-hosted with Brandon Pride Committee, a volunteer operated, not-for-profit organization. The event will off a free BBQ, youth activities, vendors who support their LGBTQ+ community, and performances from local Queer and Indigenous entertainers. Several community organizations will participate, including SERC (Sexuality Education Resource Centre), Rainbow Resource Centre, PFLAG (Parents & Families of Lesbians And Gays), Knox United Church, Klinic Community Health and the Trans Health Clinic.
“Having accessibility to a fund like the WOW Tech Pride Fund allowed me to create a safe & welcoming space for a group of people that are often pushed to the fringes,” said Pride Fund recipient Daya Bryant of Hoelistic. “Pride is not just about celebrating and being colorful, it’s about shining light & utilizing your voice and privilege to hold space for folx who have not had the full chance to be who they are… to live out loud. What’s more prideful than a fund that does just that?”
More information on the Pride Fund can be found here: https://wowtech.com/pride-fund/.