Advocacy



Advocacy is one of the four pillars of GSBA in our mission to combine business development, leadership, and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT community and those who support equality for all. Founded with a social justice mission,GSBA is proud to be an avowedly progressive business organization. Representing the voice of our community, of our businesses, and of our nonprofits is critical. It is the membership that drives our policy work - each of our civic engagement events is organized by and for our members. 

GSBA priorities during the 2018 legislative session


Banning conversion therapy (SB 5722) - Would protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors against exposure to serious harms caused by conversion therapy. Performing conversion therapy would be considered unprofessional conduct for any licensed health care provider and subject them to losing their license. Learn more.

Preventing harassment and bullying of transgender students (SB 5766) - Expands the existing law prohibiting the harassment, intimidation, and bullying of any student to specifically include transgender students. Learn more.

Require long-term care providers to be trained on LGBTQ issues (SB 5700) - Requires long-term care workers to include LGBTQ cultural competency as part of their continuing education program.

Update the Uniform Parentage Act (SB 6037) - Strengthens protections for LGBTQ parents and non-biological parents. Would allow for compensated surrogacy while protecting health, wellbeing, and autonomy of women acting as surrogates.

Support the Equal Pay Act (HB 1506) - Would protect workers from practices that perpetuate inequality. Allows workers to discuss and inquire about pay without retaliation. Requires pay to be based on bona fide job-related criteria. Learn more.

Create a statewide tourism marketing fund (SHB 1123, SSB 5251) - Create a marketing plan and campaign focusing on bringing more tourists to WA, managed by a nonprofit entity representing the geographic and cultural diversity of the state. WA is the only state in the country without a tourism board, and the significant economic opportunities brought by tourism will be a boon to small businesses.

Other priorities - GSBA is very active during session and is supporting many other efforts such as the Voting Rights Act, net neutrality, creating uniform statewide business regulations, and more.
Find our who are your elected officials and register to vote or update your registration at MyVote (part of the Washington Secretary of State's office).

Public Policy Task Force


Are you interested in LGBT and/or small business policy issues? GSBA's monthly Public Policy Task Force comes together to discuss issues of importance to the LGBT and small business communities. We often bring in elected officials, advocates, and other policymakers to present to our members.

PPTF meets on the third Monday of every month, except where otherwise noted.

Attendance FREE and is open to all GSBA members

Please contact Matt Landers, GSBA Public Policy and Communications Manager for more information.



GSBA Blog: Advocacy Posts


Face to Face with Port Commission Candidates

by Anthony Derrick, Public Policy Task Force member
| Oct 09, 2017

F2F PS Hero













[Part I of the series looking at Seattle City Council candidates can be found here]

For the second race of the morning, candidates for Port Commissioner John Creighton and Ryan Calkins had a frank conversation with GSBA members about the challenges facing the port. As before, candidates started by laying out their previous support of the LGBTQ community [video]. During Creighton’s previous term as a commissioner, the Port began tracking LGBT business relationships for the first time, and extended employee health plans to cover domestic partnerships. Calkins, on the other hand, spoke about his personal relationships with LGBTQ leaders like Zach Silk and Brady Walkinshaw.

The first question posed to them was by Elise: As the most important economic engine in our region, what is the biggest challenge facing the port, and what will we do about it [video]? Creighton argued that the biggest issue is the growth of the airport. As a major transportation hub and economic player, an expanding airport is a good sign for the region, but how does it remain a good neighbor to the community while growing within its space? For Calkins, the biggest issue facing the port is the consolidation of major shipping lines and production. Seattle is facing pressure from many other seaports along the west coast, and we need to make sure that the port’s 60,000+ jobs are preserved.

The next two questions from Steven and Gunnar focused on inclusion at the port, both for POC and LGBTQ people [video]. Addressing what the port is doing now and could do better, Creighton emphasized existing initiatives present in the port like hiring goals, creating pipelines for youth and people of color, and pushing the port to do more business with LGBTQ organizations and small businesses.

Calkins argued that the port needs a more welcoming public face, including advertising the port as a safe harbor for people who don’t “fit the mold.” As examples, he suggested making the port a sanctuary for immigrants and refugees, and making sure that there are gender-neutral bathrooms at the ports. In order to create a more inclusive environment, he said, it is important to recognize the systemic obstacles POC and LGBTQ people face.

Gladys Gillis and Roger Nyhus asked about the Port's history with tracking LGBTQ and minority small business contracts and the resulting data collected [video]. Commissioner Creighton said that though the Port of Seattle has been tracking LGBTQ inclusion since about 2013, that the data shows that they can do better. He asserted that the Port is working on outreach, in part with GSBA, to better reach the small business community. He stated that 90% of businesses awarded contracts in the recent round of bids at Sea-Tac went to small businesses and that I-200 would not be a limitation for doing even more work with small minority businesses. Calkins advocated for a more streamlined process to lower barriers to entry for small businesses. He also wants to push for greater transparency at the Port of Seattle.