Heather Stobo and Lisa Casoni Being Gay.
Lisa and I being gay.

The charm of COVID lockdown was beginning to wear thin. The gallery areas that Lisa and I respectively turned into a meditation room and gym no longer felt like restorative spaces, but rather like monuments to idle hands. What at first felt like some quiet downtime fueled by a fear of possible death, soon began to feel like a harrowing journey towards bankruptcy fueled by a fear of probable death. Money wasn’t going to come in through sales or foot traffic. It was time to see what the government could do for us. Grants were out there, but more so if one could tick certain boxes on the application. For the first time in my life, being a lesbian and a woman was going to enhance my earning power. I just had to go through the process of publicly certifying my identities.
Registering as a female was easy; my parents had taken care of that with my birth certificate and deceptively feminine first name. As is often the case, it was the gay part that proved to be difficult. The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) wasn’t accepting a picture of my shoe closet and a boisterous round of “I’m Queer…I’m here…Get used to it…” as documentation. I needed proof of a relationship, three letters of reference, and a virtual site visit to process my application. I had to do the one thing that I had spent the early part my life avoiding. I had to prove I was gay. Ironically, it was my marriage license - the most heteronormative, and temporary, part of my queerness - that sealed the deal. In January of 2021, Beato Chocolates officially became a gay-owned and women-run business.

Stay tuned,
Co-Founder of Beato Chocolates

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