BLgT USA Reflects On Their National Tour For LGBT Equality

49 states in, their tour is reaching its end.

Note: The following is the ninth post in a series of posts from GET//OUT regarding BLgT USA - the first 50-state food tour for equality. We'll be sharing updates, photos and more as the BLgT team travels across the country  to get people out locally for LGBT equality. 

Holy BLgTs. Where did the sandwich summer go? It’s been a month since our last post from the road and much has happened. We’re in the last week of our historic 50 state tour! You can still support local LGBT work across the country and buy a BLgT before the end of the campaign, on the official last day of summer -- Sept. 22. Participating BLgT USA partner restaurants are right here.

Now, 49 states in, we’ve made our way through the west and southwest, heading east with Austin, New Orleans, and Oxford, Mississippi events in last week. We’ve met over 1,000 people on the ground at our events and through our travels over the past four months. These people have changed our lives. Through our experiences, we now have particular soft spot for our new idols below.   

People On Tour // Musicians. Authors. Artists. Tour staff. YOU ARE TRAVEL GODS + GODDESSES. Every two days, you’re in and out of cities, sleeping in a different bed, couch, blowup mattress, or tent inside a tipi (yes, that happened). Between the lack of sleep, home and always “being on” we now understand how rock stars can fall into drugs and addiction so easily. Fortunately for us, since we’re on a tight budget, our drugs of choice are diet coke and iced mochas. 

Truck Drivers // Driving eight, 10, 12-hour days, sometimes through the night. Kudos to the men and women out there driving our food and consumer goods across the country 24/7. Driving is tough on your body. If you’re looking for an epic rest stop, our favorites are The New Hampshire Welcome Center (it’s basically a 1950s village), The Wyoming Welcome Center (there’s a dinosaur inside), and Buckee’s in TX (those bathrooms though).

People Fundraising for Anything // It takes money to make ideas happen. It takes other things, too. People, relationships, vision, good design, communications, community, execution and sleep. But without cash in the bank, it’s tough to make anything come to life. Unless you’re independently wealthy, most people have to raise funds in some way. For us, 90 percent of this year we fundraised through individuals. Asking people for money both publicly and privately is one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. It’s vulnerable. It’s raw. It can be SUPER awkward at times. 

Whether you’re fundraising for a for profit, nonprofit, or personal project-- you need to be so focused, so passionate that you’re able to dig into that place in your soul and say out loud, “THE WORLD NEEDS THIS. COME JOIN ME IN MAKING IT HAPPEN!” No one understands what it really takes except you. The time, the cost, the tears, the resilience, the relationships. It’s always been about building something so much bigger than us. This has made it possible to ask others to be part of the journey. It takes a village. For everyone out there who has ever fundraised for anything… we feel for you. PS: THANK YOU to the almost 1,000 individuals who contributed to BLgT USA this summer.

Entrepreneurs // We’ve always been entrepreneurial self-starters, but until last year we had never started our own thing -- with a lawyer, insurance, accountant, bills, responsibilities linked to other people’s money, all the things. The balancing act, the roller coaster, the constant hustle. You can read about it and understand logically on paper what you’re getting into, but experiencing it is something completely different. To all our fellow crazies out there - we would like to buy you a drink. And a puppy that takes care of itself, doubles as a social media maven, and just loves you.

People Who Create Good Content. All. The. Time. // Whether it’s on digital media, film, print, radio, audio, TV, stand-up, speeches, or social media -- creating consistent content that doesn’t make you facepalm isn’t easy. We would like to honor the real deals. To the people who create magic every day, we bow down.

Astronauts // We were lucky to snag a little time at NASA while driving through Houston, Texas. Beyond being crazy smarty pants and undergoing superhuman training, the close quarters that Astronauts live in space for six months to a year is impressive. And that space food. We don’t know how you do it. We’ve been in a Chevy Suburban for four months. And we CAN’T WAIT TO GET OUT AND HAVE KALE SALAD. Thanks, Sally Ride, for being our unicorn in the sky.  

New Parents // OK. We get it now. You don’t sleep. You have anxiety all the time about your baby. Life isn’t about being happy. It’s about something more than that. It’s about purpose. And growth. And family. And community. Gay. Straight. Trans. We met so many new parents this summer who are getting it done through it all. HIGH FIVES FOR DAYS.

LGBTQ People Who Live in Red States // While we heard joyful stories across the country, we also listened to tearful experiences from people in Pocatello, ID, Austin, Texas, and Huntsville, Alabama that make your heart break. People are told -- by their parents, by their schools, by their communities, by the policy, media, billboards and leaders in their states -- “We’re not going to protect you. It’s not OK to be gay.” People stay in those states, because that place is their home. They don’t want to move to New York or L.A. or D.C. We heard hundreds of stories of families “coming around” over time. For many people, it’s about being close to loved ones. The resilience of our new friends in these states is inspiring. They’re visible in their communities, making life better every day for the next generation.

Early next week, we’ll be posting a recap of our recent events. For delicious photos of our events check out our Facebook Page. For more Sandwich Stories from the road get after our Instagram. For questions or media inquiries, we <3 you too: go@getout.io