April 4, 2022 | For Immediate Release
Statement from the Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, in solidarity with the network of Florida-based affiliate Chambers of Commerce: Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, The Pride Chamber of Orlando, & Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
We are sickened by the exponential rise in legislative attempts to erase LGBTQ Americans. With Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill now signed into law, our young community members and their allies need our solidarity more than ever. Their physical and mental health is already under enough strain from the lack of comprehensive, affirming care and protections in America, and it’s up to us to leverage our economic might to protect them. They need to know that we see them, we value them, and we will defend their right to be exactly who they are.
We call on all legislators nationwide considering such bills to remember that their economy succeeds only when there is a fully engaged and protected citizenry, workforce, school system, and supply chain free from fear, bias, and discrimination. And we call on our partners in the business community – from corporations to organizational allies – to stand up to these bills and send a strong message that they will no longer invest in expansion or corporate relocation in states passing these harmful bills.
As NGLCC, our coalition of Affiliate Chambers, and our partners have articulated when pushing back against these heinous bills: there will be a massive impact on state and local economies as major corporations and small enterprises take their businesses to states where all are welcome. Our ever-growing network of corporate partners, local chambers, and small businesses consistently assert the economic benefits of non-discrimination and aggressively push back against these dangerous laws that further marginalize already vulnerable LGBTQ citizens. North Carolina, Texas, and other states lost billions from imposing so-called “Bathroom Bills.” Just wait until our community's $917 billion dollars (and the trillions represented by our allies) find other places that do not discriminate against our communities to vacation, shop, and invest.
Our respective chambers have worked tirelessly with our local governments and business partners to make our cities places where LGBTQ people feel welcome, supported, and able to succeed on any path, however they identify. We do not want to see them lose even more opportunity because of a desire to economically punish all Floridians for the actions of a hateful minority.
While boycotts hurt our community through job cuts and lost contracts for small businesses, we must double down on investing our communities’ dollars in the cities and states proactively working to include and protect all LGBTQ Americans. From Florida to Texas and anywhere our rights are under attack, we will be watching who in the corporate community celebrates Pride in June, but remains silent when our young people are under attack throughout the rest of the year.
We will never stop asserting pressure in partnership with our Fortune 1000 and corporate multinational allies and the estimated 1.4 million businesses in this nation that are owned by LGBT people to fight legislation that sanctions discrimination of any kind. These shameful laws erode our vibrant and inclusive economy as they force LGBT young people to look over their shoulder in fear, rather than ahead in hopes for a better future.
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NGLCC Media / Policy Contact:
Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber Media/Policy Contact:
Justice Gennari, President & CEO
About the Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber
Since 1983, the Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber mission is to advance common business interests, economic growth, and equality in the workplace and society for its LGBT and allied businesses, corporations, and professional members by providing educational, networking, and community engagement.
The Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber has been premier voice of the Greater Tampa Bay Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender business community, representing over 600 businesses, community groups and individuals in seven counties, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, Polk, and Hernando. www.Tampabaylgbtchamber.org @TampaBayLGBTChamber