The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce reports that the 1.4 million LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs in the U.S. generate over $1.7 trillion annually for the economy. However, queer-owned businesses have faced harassment over the years. Their storefronts have been vandalized, venues have been threatened, and the owners themselves have even been attacked.
To provide much-needed support, the inaugural LGBTQ+ Business Week launched this year. The seven-day celebration, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, 2023, aims to rally support for queer-owned businesses and raise awareness for economic issues they often face.
Travers Johnson, creator of LGBTQ+ Business Week and owner of Queerency Media, is a major partner.
“LGBTQ+ small business owners are culture-shapers, space-makers, and job creators, but like our community at large, we often suffer from discrimination and bias,” Johnson said in a press release. “From being denied COVID-relief loans at a higher rate than non-LGBTQ businesses to being victims of targeted abuse online and IRL, queer-owned businesses need our support now more than ever. And with this summer’s disastrous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalizes marketplace discrimination against LGBTQ+ customers, there is a growing movement to bolster the queer economy.”
The LGBTQ+ Business Week is the first week that solely celebrates queer-owned businesses and innovation nationally and internationally.
The initiative includes several social toolkits on its website that LGBTQ+ businesses can utilize to promote their business and gain support. They have also launched the #BuyProud Business Data Base, allowing users to find new businesses to support. There is even a “Holiday Queer” gift guide to help with holiday shopping.
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On Dec. 1, there will be an all-day virtual summit presenting thought-provoking conversations with business leaders, content creators, artists and world changers. A fireside chat with the Founder of Backstage Capital & Runner, Author, and Venture Catalyst Arlan Hamilton, will kick off the programming at 9 a.m. PST.
Following the chat will be a tech talk with some of the industry’s leading voices speaking about tech and its intersection with LGBTQ+ people. Some guest speakers include Slack’s Senior Success Manager Tyler Lawrence, Anni Lundy, director of digital marketing at Lesbians Who Tech, and Glenise Kinard-Moore, creator of Dope Sh*T at VDOM.
The agenda also includes sessions focused on careers in body and sex positivity, politics and policy, along with the economy of queer businesses.
Johnson will close out the summit at 6 p.m. PST, sharing essential and accessible resources to take LGBTQ+ businesses to the next level.
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The LGBTQ+ Business Week is partnering with a diverse range of queer-owned businesses and organizations (and allies), including Slack, It Gets Better and The Phluid Project, to promote the economic sustainability and growth of the community.
To learn more or participate in the inaugural LGBTQ+ Business Week, visit LGBTQBusinessWeek.com.