HRC Blog

The Future Is Local: LGBT Business

lgbt businessSubmitted by HRC Workplace Equality Program Staff 

Deena Fidas, HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program Director, joined hundreds of LGBT business leaders across the country last week at the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s (NGLCC) 11th Annual National Business and Leadership Conference in Las Vegas. Fidas, who spoke on the panel, “LGBT Equality—Where We Are, Where We’re Going,” explained that some of the most exciting progress toward LGBT equality in the business world is occurring at the local level. Alongside Deena, two other movement leaders, Sam McClure (NGLCC) and Russell Roybal (NGLTF) laid out some of their own organization visions for the future.

“What we’re seeing,” Fidas said, “are local municipal ordinances protecting LGBT employees in the workplace. Local LGBT business leaders are establishing their own chambers of commerce with support from the NGLCC to promote their businesses and look out for each other’s interests. What we have learned from our own Corporate Equality Program is that the business community often doesn’t wait for lawmakers to act but instead leads on matters of LGBT equality because it strengthens the bottom line.”

The NGLCC began certifying LGBT-owned small businesses in 2002, which encouraged larger businesses to reach out to LGBT-owned businesses to address diversity initiatives. HRC’s 2014 Corporate Equality Index showed that one fifth of the companies who participated had actively courted LGBT-owned businesses for inclusion in their supply chains. “The work that NGLCC has done really shows how important LGBT-owned small businesses have become in local economies across the nation,” Fidas said.

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