|Stacy Lentz, Co-owner|
Stacy Lentz has had a front row to the trials and triumphs of the LGBTQ community. Hailing from a small conservative town in Kansas she has witnessed the oppression, ridicule and homophobic environments that exist across the country. Her caring and supportive family couldn’t obscure the fact that homophobia was alive and well in middle America.
Stacy moved to NY in the mid-nineties and her first experience with The Stonewall Inn was shocking. As she and a few friends walked into the “birthplace of gay rights” only to be met by a decaying shadow of a place that once gave a community the strength to stand together and start a global movement. The Stonewall Inn was dark and dreary. It had no pride.
|The Stonewall Inn - Gay Marriage Passes!|
At that time, Stacy was building her career as a sought-after recruiter and being a co-owner of Stonewall Inn was never a thought. Many years later she found herself hanging out at another beloved institution, The Duplex. There she met Kurt Kelly, a bartender at The Duplex who brought up the idea of partnering up and bringing The Stonewall Inn back to the community. The Stonewall had been recently shuttered and it was in need of major repairs. The Stonewall had been essentially abandoned.
Drawing on her memories of the disappointment she felt when she first walked in to The Stonewall Inn many years earlier, coupled with her personal desire to give LGBTQ persons a better world, she signed on to the endeavor.
|The Stonewall Inn - DOMA Passes|
She saw “this as an opportunity of a lifetime”! She started by envisioning a space where everyone would be welcomed. She wanted to maintain the Stonewall Inn Legacy. She and her partners did as much of the work themselves lacing their blood, sweat and tears to bring Stonewall Inn back to prominence. As the sole female investor, she brought two non-negotiables. First women needed to feel welcomed at Stonewall and the space should also be used to give back in ways that supported the community.
Today, Stacy serves mainly as the spokesperson for the Stonewall Inn and the day-to-day is handled by the other partners. Her focus is on marketing The Stonewall Inn as safe place for all, A place to come to together to celebrate the triumphs, organize when the rights of the community are at stake as well as giving back to the community.
Kurt Kelly, Stacy Lentz, Edie Windsor,
Bill Morgan and Tony DeCicco (l-r)
What’s next on the horizon for The Stonewall Inn?
Stonewall has teamed up with Brooklyn Brewery. We are planning to launch a Stonewall Inn beer in time for Pride 2017. Partial proceeds will be going to fund The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative.
What is The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative?
The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative is a non-profit that we have launched to help the most vulnerable and marginalized in the LGBTQ community. It is dedicated to the advancement of the lessons, accomplishments and the spirit of pride born in the Stonewall Inn Uprising through support to struggling LGBTQ communities within the United States and around the world.
When do you plan to launch?
SAVE THE DATE! We will be having a kick-off party to celebrate the launch of the beer and the non-profit on June 1st from 7-10 at the Stonewall Inn.
How might the nglccNY membership contribute or participate?
We are looking for companies that might be interested in sponsoring The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiatives.
What else can we look forward to attending at Stonewall Inn?
We are launching concert series that we are teaming up with PrideLive Nation and iHeartRADIO. This is also to benefit our charity so if anyone in the nglccNY knows of anyone or companies interested in sponsorship may reach out to me directly.
Written by Ingrid Galvez,
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion and Programming,
Organizational Development Consultant,
Strategic Remedy Group