As a member of the LGBTQI community, many of us feel like a square peg shoved in round hole when working in the “corporate” environment. We either don’t get hired or when we do we have to stifle elements of our selves to fit in. We are constantly in fear of our true selves being exposed.
While many companies have made great strides in creating diversity programs welcoming the Queer community, there are still states where you can be fired for being gay, or spousal benefits are denied because they somehow infringed upon someone’s religious liberties to discriminate. Such basic rights are denied simply bas ed simply on sexual orientation impacting our ability to financially support our families – however you choose to define a family.
Our goal is to financially empower the LGBTQI community through jobs, entrepreneurship and commerce. And we need your help. First and foremost, know where you spend your hard earned Queer dollars. Do the companies you buy from support equal rights for all? Or do they promotes discrimination by calling it Religious Freedom? Do they support diversity in the workplace? Do they promote gender equality? There is tremendous power in how we spend our money.
If you can, come out in the work place. And yes we realize that is not an option for everyone. We are not suggesting put your self at risk. But if you can, be open. It’s harder to discriminate against people you know. And maybe your visibility will help those who are struggling on their path to self acceptance.
Buy local and support local. Yeah, I get that it maybe cheaper on Amazon, but if you want to continue to see queer bookstores and other mom and mom businesses – you have to support them. Queer businesses support Queer causes – it’s that simple. And they need you.
Get involved. Support local legislators who support equality. Demand procurement opportunities for certified LGBTQI businesses. Organize, protest, boycott – whatever it takes – because we have no intention of going back into the closet.
Lastly, get out of your niche. It’s say and comfortable to hang out with our friends. And if you look around, they probably look a lot like you. We are glad you found your tribe, but the rest of the community needs you, too. To understand the struggles of the queer community, you have to meet the rest of the alphabet. What is it like looking for a job while in transition? How does a butch lesbian get a business loan from a conservative banking community? What does it mean to be a person of color and Queer? What happens when Kink is a lifestyle and not just a Hollywood movie of the moment? There are but a few challenges faced by our community.
Our community has made great strides over the past decade, but we’ve also grown complacent. We’ve assumed these hard won battles changed the course, but recent events suggest just how vulnerable these victories are. We must continue to stand up for equality for all. Through our actions and our dollars.
I promise you we are on the right path, but the battle is far from over.