2017 is poised to be an interesting year. We cannot predict how businesses will be affected by the new administration, but changes are certain. There are warnings that anti-LGBT legislation could be introduced that would severely impact LGBT individuals, their families and friends, and our INBA business community. For us, equal and nondiscriminatory legislation go hand-in-hand with good business practices.
In the past decade, the global LGBTA community has had some amazing wins towards equal rights. Each time we progress towards diversity and acceptance, however, the opposition tries to find ways to discriminate against our rights. Thankfully, legislation designed to discriminate will always be met with backlash from the business community nationwide. The most visible recent example is HB2 in North Carolina, where LGBT advocates rallied to reject this unjust regulation. This backlash could not have happened without the collective support and resources from all our Allies.
Unlike general business chambers, LGBTA chambers such as ours were formed to provide services and support to a community that faced outward discrimination. Today, we find so many other communities facing similar types of discrimination that we also support women, people of color, ethnicity, disability, and so many others in need.
Our membership continues to grow each year because of the support for our vision and mission. Creating an economically robust and civically engaged community through the acceptance of diversity throughout the region is no easy task. INBA has become the chamber of diversity in a region where some would say there is none. We will continue to advocate for our LGBTA businesses, owners, and professionals who share our values of equality and good business practices.