Pride 2023: The Interviews

Pride 2023: The Interviews

Pride, parades and partying. We like the ring of that! Pride has come a long way since New York in 1970. More and more people of all orientations are embracing this time of year to celebrate queer history and have fun here in the now. It’s natural to connect celebration with booze, but we've interviewed some of our favorite partners on why they're opting for alternatives.
people wellbeing

Sion Hebert - Sober Influencer

Sion, you’re blogging your sobriety journey online, what made you decide to do this?

When I first let go of alcohol back in August 2022, blogging it on TikTok was a great way for me to document and to even take accountability. As time went on I realised that the sober community online is incredibly supportive and amazing. People would also comment lovely things saying how much my videos are helping them in their journey to sobriety. I have dyspraxia so I find I difficult to concentrate and write and journal. But I found that creating videos is my way of documenting it. I treat my TikTok account as a visual diary. I love that i can look back at my progress and see how far I’ve come. It also is a win win if it helps others. But I do it because I love it and it’s something I find a huge pleasure in doing! 

Your handle is thesosbergay_ on TikTok and sobergaypodcast on Instagram. How do you think other people in the LGBTQ community could also relate to your journey?

I think the part they will hopefully relate to is that they are not alone. And it is possible to be sober in the LGBTQ+ community. Nightlife is such a huge part of the community and its important to know that you don’t have to drink to have fun. The nightlife and community is still there but you can do it your way. I can totally understand that It’s tough because alcohol is everywhere and so accessible. But I think having a small voice online is a great way to show that its possible. If you are sober curious/sober or Alcohol Free having a community is so important. Thats why I want to speak out more as a gay sober man to show other queer people that they aren’t alone and the more of us the better. We can all support each other.

How important do you think it is that there are interesting non-alcoholic options like Three Spirit for someone looking to change their relationship with drinking? Has it been helpful for you?

I think it’s MASSIVELY helpful having non-alcoholic drinks available. And thats the beauty of living alcohol free in 2023. Having options such as Three Spirit. It gives you that excitement of having a delicious drink and you don’t feel “left out”. And i think it is changing. More and more people are interested in living a lifestyle that doesn’t include alcohol in it.

Do you have a favorite Three Spirit drink?

YES YES YES the Livener is my all time fave. I love the taste and i can honestly say that having a bottle of Livener in my apartment throughout summer is a saviour. I just think its 100% going to be my go to drink. It’s lovely with ginger beer and a slice of lemon, loads of ice and a bougie gin goblet. Your welcome ;)

And finally, how will you be celebrating Pride this year?

London Pride and Mighty Hoopla!! Pride is a time that is a MUST on my calendar every year

Christian C. Parker - Executive Director of Gay and Sober

Christian, tell us what is Gay & Sober?

Gay & Sober is a non-profit that I started with some friends a few years back. It serves people in the LGBTQ recovery community. In short, our services and events help people find recovery, get sober and stay sober.

Why did you decide to set this up? And what have been the challenges?

We started it because we found that pride celebrations were always sponsored by big alcohol and there was nothing being offered that was fun, safe, and affirming to LGBTQ people that didn’t drink or that were sober. We started out in 2009 as a once a year, 4 day event during Pride Weekend in New York City. We’ve since expanded to host amazing experiences for our special niche community members at Dollywood theme park, Fire Island Pines, Amsterdam Pride, and we will have a presence at the next five WorldPrides. We are also developing a new destination experience in London.

The cool part about all this is that we are all volunteers. Passionate volunteers that don’t get paid. We do it because we love seeing people realizing that they can have fun and live life to the fullest in sobriety.

The fiscal complexity of our growing operation is probably the most challenging thing for me personally. Sometimes I find myself staying up late at night thinking about the funding we need to keep helping people. It’s a labor of love for me. It’s stressful at times, but also really rewarding when we get the job done.

We rely on donations to keep us going year after year.

Three Spirit were delighted last year (and this year) to help provide your drinks for your NYC event. How important do you think it is to have interesting non-alcoholic options like this?

Oh it’s very important. We find that our participants and members don’t want to have that feeling of “missing out”. So at our events, we elevate the basic sober experience of sodas and coffee. We consciously elevate the experience with the help of brands like Three Spirit. When our participants come to an event and see a legit bar set up with mixologists making these amazing and tasty mocktails, it really makes them feel valued.

Do you have a favorite Three Spirit drink?

My favorite bottle from Three Spirit is Nightcap. I love it's savoury, woodsy, and soothing qualities. It's so popular, that sometimes I have to get on a waitlist for it. But it's worth the wait.

And finally, how will you be celebrating Pride this year?

Pride is like my Christmastime. It's the organization's busiest time of the year. We work 365 days a year in preparation for Pride in June. So it's a time of year where I get to see all my friends from all over the world in my home city of New York. I love seeing them have fun, making new friends and connections and dancing up a storm. But's it also when I know that I'm in work mode to make sure that they have a near perfect experience. So Pride is a delicate balance for me of fun and work.

Lee Dawn Hershey - Actor / Model / Producer and Bartender Flair Champion

Lee Dawn, you’re a sober bartender, tell me what’s the usual reaction to this within your industry?

"What! How? Why?" is usual response I’m met with when people learn I’m alcohol free. Easy answer, it was time to move forward with my health & wellness journey. I have consumed and sampled many products over my 17 years in the industry, very easy to remember the notes left on my pallet.

I can still serve it, it just doesn’t serve me anymore!

You’re collaborating this year with JQ International for Pride, which Three Spirit are delighted to be helping provide drinks for. Tell us why you were so keen to get non-alc options for the events?

JQ INTERNATIONAL are amazing partners and I have enjoyed working alongside them over the years. Sunday Funday Pride Brunch will be a perfect opportunity to share my favorite Three Spirit recipe.

It’s very important for me to provide NA libations in every space we create, everyone matters! Humans are understanding you do not need to wreck yourself to have a good time. Holding space and giving options is all about inclusion, everyone wants to be part of the tribe. There’s absolutely no reason to separate on account of healthy or safe choices, life is about experiences and growth! I remember not getting invited to certain parties in the beginning of my dry journey due to hosts not knowing what to supply or them being in fear I wouldn’t have a good time…feeling tempted to consume their alcoholic libations. Not anymore! I come prepared with my Three Spirit in hand and I’m usually sharing it with others interested in the same journey but afraid to take the leap. Social anxiety sure can hinder humans from experiencing a collective of wonderful events in life. I am always beyond happy to share the Social Elixir, everyone deserves to have a good time! Low calories, low sugar and delicious ingredients that are also healthy for you without the pesky hangover! What more could you ask for?

Do you have a favorite Three Spirit drink?

I do! I thoroughly enjoy the Livener paired with Watermelon Jalapeño De La Calle Tepache, half rim tajin and a mouth watering watermelon sour belt as a garnish. Enjoy the best way you know how!

And finally, how will you be celebrating Pride this year?

I will be celebrating Pride this year riding my motorcycle in LA, Long Beach & San Diego Pride parades. Helping others achieve their goals by providing a curated bar space with delicious options for EVERYONE! 

Shop the story

More like this

Discover more articles