Collective Objection Letter to the Brewers Association
Signed by 1,749 members of the craft beer community
Dear Brewers Association,
We are writing to express our deep disappointment in your organization’s failure to address the anti-trans legislative climate in Tennessee while the Craft Brewers Conference was being held in Nashville. As members of the brewing community and of the LGBTQIAA2S+ community, we find it unacceptable that your organization has remained silent on this issue.
Tennessee recently passed a law that prohibits male and female impersonators of “prurient interests” from performing on public property or in front of children, which is a “subtle and sinister way to further criminalize just being trans” or gender non-conforming (LGBT Nation, 2023). This is a direct attack on the rights of trans individuals and sends a message that they are not valued or respected in our society. This law discriminates against the very existence of our trans and non-binary community; it also perpetuates harmful stereotypes and contributes to a culture of exclusion and intolerance.
As a national organization representing over 5,400 small and independent craft brewers, the Brewers Association has a responsibility to take a stand against discrimination and advocate for inclusivity in all aspects of the brewing industry. By failing to address this issue, the Brewers Association is sending a message that it is not committed to promoting equality and social justice.
Furthermore, the Brewers Association’s silence on this issue is particularly concerning, given the significant economic impact of the brewing industry in Tennessee. According to the Brewers Association’s 2022 State Economic Impact Report, the craft brewing industry in Tennessee contributes over $1.3 billion to the state’s economy and supports over 154 craft breweries. As a major player in the industry, the Brewers Association has the power and influence to make a meaningful difference in the lives of trans individuals and the wider community.
We urge the Brewers Association to take immediate action to address the anti-trans, anti-LGBTQIAA2S+, and anti-drag legislation in Tennessee and to publicly condemn all forms of discrimination and bigotry. This should include issuing a statement condemning the law, reaching out to Tennessee lawmakers to express your opposition, and supporting organizations that advocate for the rights of trans individuals.
By choosing to host the event in a state that has actively worked to discriminate against the LGBTQIAA2S+ community, the Brewers Association put its constituents at risk. The Craft Brewers Conference is a major gathering of professionals in the brewing industry. As such, it is an opportunity for the Brewers Association to promote inclusivity and diversity within the industry. However, by hosting the event in Tennessee, a state with a history of anti-LGBTQIAA2S+ policies, the Brewers Association failed to live up to this responsibility.
Furthermore, the decision to hold the conference in Nashville came at a time when the state was in the process of passing more discriminatory legislation. Since 2015, there were 13 anti-LGBTQIAA2S+ laws that have been enacted to restrict the rights of the Queer community – the most in the nation in that short time frame. This legislation directly targets and harms members of the LGBTQIAA2S+ community and puts their safety at risk. By holding the conference in Nashville, the Brewers Association implicitly endorsed the discriminatory policies of the state, putting its own constituents at risk and sending a message that discrimination is acceptable.
We believe that the Brewers Association has a responsibility to consider the safety and well-being of all its members when selecting a location for the Craft Brewers Conference, regardless of how large or small the directly affected population may be. Furthermore, this particular issue is not a partisan issue – it is a human rights issue that affects your members. By hosting the event in Tennessee, the organization failed to prioritize the safety of its constituents and missed an opportunity to promote inclusivity and diversity within the industry.
Silence on issues of social justice and human rights is problematic because it allows discrimination and oppression to go unchecked. By choosing to remain silent, organizations and individuals are complicit in the harm caused to marginalized communities. Silence sends a message that discrimination is acceptable and that those who are affected by it are not valued or respected. In the case of the Brewers Association’s failure to address the anti-trans legislation in Tennessee, its silence is a failure of leadership and a missed opportunity to use its platform to advocate for the rights and dignity of all people. In order to create a more just and equitable society, it is crucial that we all speak out against discrimination and use our voices to promote positive change.
The Brewers Association’s decision to hold the 2023 Craft Brewers Conference in Tennessee also had serious implications for the safety and comfort of its members. By hosting the event in a state that actively works to discriminate against the LGBTQIAA2S+ community, the Brewers Association put its members at risk of discrimination and harm. This has led to members feeling uncomfortable and unsafe attending the conference, and in some cases, has even deterred members from attending altogether. In addition, there were members who left the conference early and paid exorbitant amounts to remove themselves from the unsafe, uncomfortable environment. Such issues of safety and comfort should not be taken lightly, and the Brewers Association must take full responsibility for its role in creating an environment that was not conducive to the safety and well-being of all its members.
In conclusion, we collectively urge the Brewers Association to take responsibility for its actions and to take immediate steps to address the harm it has caused to the trans community and, furthermore, the LGBTQIAA2S+ community. This includes publicly acknowledging the harm caused by holding the Craft Brewers Conference in Tennessee and committing to selecting future conference locations based on their commitment to promoting inclusivity and diversity.