The Chamber prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive business community. We aren’t a conventional business group where members just show up to a meeting for referrals or to leverage a marginalized community for the sake of profit. Our work goes beyond the core of business marketing and referrals into education and advocacy. We are here to support people who are working for individual and collective economic growth–while striving to survive and thrive as someone who identifies on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
One of the joys of the Chamber is connecting with our cisgender straight members who are allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. We hear questions periodically from those members asking how to show up as an ally, so we wanted to take a moment to talk about a few aspects of allyship with and within the LGBTQIA+ community.
Being an ally means amplifying queer life experiences across the diverse spectrum of our communities. This requires taking the time to listen, learn, and lend support to queer voices, especially to BIPOC queer voices who are the most marginalized. It also means listening and supporting within our community–cisgender lesbians listening to trans folks, white gay men supporting bisexual BIPOC women, etc.
As a business organization, of course we also emphasize the importance of making a financial impact–identifying a business that at its core represents the queer community and then supporting that business through your pocketbook. Each of us has the power to help equalize the prosperity of our local economy. We can also use our donations and our social capital to support non-profit organizations and social services whose mission is to uplift, heal, and help the queer community.
One concrete step you can take in your allyship is to speak out in support of the Equality Act, which recently made historic passage through the United States House of Representatives! Workplace discrimination against LGBTQI+ people is still prevalent in many states because there is a lack of comprehensive sexual orientation and gender identity protections in federal and state contexts. Employment, housing, and other services can be denied without legal recourse. This act will ensure federal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQIA+ people, promoting equal access to employment, housing, credit, public spaces and services, education, federally funded programs, and beyond.
The Tucson LGBT Chamber of Commerce joins the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) in urging the United States Senate to act in the social and economic best interests of all Americans and pass the bill in their chamber. The NGLCC says it best: “The Equality Act highlights many of the inequities that have kept tax-paying, law-abiding LGBT citizens from achieving success. Our economy simply does not achieve all it can unless everyone is included and given a fair shot. We look forward to the essential conversations that benefit LGBT business owners, including protection from discrimination in government contracting alongside other diverse-owned businesses that will follow the full passage of this bill and we strongly endorse the Equality Act.”
We encourage you to show your support of the Equality Act through your social networks and by reaching out to Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly asking them to add their names in endorsement of this important act.
Being an ally means intentionally and mindfully making space for queer people to exist. We need our cisgender straight allied business members to help create those spaces for us, and we need to keep creating those spaces for each other across the diversity of our LGBTQI+ communities. Keep chatting with people across the LBGTQI+ spectrum to hear our experiences, to learn how to meaningfully support all of us–and encourage others to come check the Chamber out if they want to know what more than can do.