The GSBA Blog


  • Resources to Protect Yourself, Your Family, & Your Business from COVID-19

    by Louise Chernin (She/her), GSBA President & CEO
    | Mar 03, 2020

    UPDATE: Friday, March 6's Breakfast & Benefits: New Member Orientation and Tuesday, March 10's Young Professionals with Pride have been rescheduled with the regards to the safety of our community. Please subscribe to our weekly newsletter, follow us on Facebook, and Twitter to receive updates about any changes to upcoming GSBA programs.

    The topic on everyone’s mind is the coronavirus (COVID-19). All of us in GSBA are monitoring the situation closely and will send out information and updates on scheduled events on an ongoing basis. All decisions will be based on how best to ensure the safety of our staff, our members, and all who attend our programs. At this time, we have no immediate plans to cancel any programs and we are fully staffed, understanding that this status can change at any time.
     
    As our community knows all too well, anytime there is a disease outbreak, there is a tendency to scapegoat. Please remember that anyone can transmit or become infected with a virus. No one group of folks is responsible or should ever be targeted as the cause of a disease outbreak. For additional information on how to prevent and respond to stigmas and the spread of misinformation regarding this virus, click here.
     
    Currently, the risk to the general public is low due to the unlikelihood of exposure to the virus. Risk of exposure is elevated for healthcare workers, people who have had close contact with persons with COVID-19, and travelers returning from affected international locations (China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Japan, and Hong Kong).
     
    Below are the recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health on how to respond in your daily life:
     
    • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.
    • Stay home when you’re sick.
    • If you are sick and wondering what to do, call your healthcare provider before you go to a clinic or emergency room.
    • Show compassion and support for individuals and communities most closely impacted and anyone who might be sick.
    • Find more resources here.
    This is an evolving situation with information changing frequently. The best
    source of information for you and your family to keep up to date is through Seattle & King County Public Health. They've put together a website on all things coronavirus here. Folks can also use this link to sign up to receive email alerts as updates on the situation are released.
     
    In addition, we encourage all business leaders to take steps to protect their business, employees, and customers. King County Public Health has prepared a step-by-step guide to help all businesses put plans in place for potential impact.
     
    On Friday, March 20, GSBA Member Brad Kreuger of Success Beyond Luck will lead a free webinar to help businesses understand possible long-term impacts and how to prepare for them.
     
    If you have questions, you can call the Washington State Department of Health at 1-800-525-0127 and press #. You can also stay up to date by following the department on Twitter or Facebook.
     
    We must remain vigilant not to allow misinformation about COVID-19 to become a reason to discriminate, harass or target anyone group. The best way to address bias is to not engage in it and speak out when you witness anyone being unfairly harassed or discriminated against. Now, as always, is the time for compassion, staying informed and using common sense over irrational, fear based behavior.
  • At Work for You in Olympia

    by Matt Landers, Public Policy & Government Relations Director
    | Mar 02, 2020
     
    The first two months of the year are always a busy time for policymakers. With Washington nearing the end of its 2020 short session, the Legislature has been working at a feverish pace holding hearings and passing bills. GSBA strives hard to represent the voices and views of our diverse membership at all levels of government, with a strong and experienced advocacy team. Our contract lobbyist, Susie Tracy, is on the ground in Olympia working with legislators every day. Matt Landers, our Public Policy & Government Relations Director, works both in Seattle and Olympia, and across the Evergreen State. And of course, our President & CEO Louise Chernin is seemingly everywhere at once. The GSBA Policy Council, comprised of dedicated and passionate advocates, meets weekly to keep on top of the busy agenda.

    IMG_9398With about two weeks left in the 2020 legislative session, GSBA is very happy with the progress of many of the bills that we have endorsed. We are most excited about the passage of HB 1687 - the Nikki Kuhnhausen Act - banning the use of panic defenses, where a victim’s identity is used to justify violent assaults against them. This bill is named for the young transwoman murdered last summer in Clark County, in an attack that police believe occurred after her killer learned of her gender identity. This bill has been approved by both the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, and now moves to the Governor for his signature.

    Several other LGBTQ-related bills are making good progress, including the HIVIMG_9464 modernization bill (HB 1551), prohibiting discrimination in healthcare (HB 2338), hiring an LGBTQ veterans coordinator in the Department of Veterans Affairs (SB 5900), establishing the Washington Office of Equity (HB 1783), and mandating comprehensive and inclusive sex education in public schools (SB 5395). HB 2201, which would prohibit transgender girls from participating in girls sports in public schools, thankfully never even recieved a hearing.

    On the small business front, GSBA has had our eye on several bills, though they have not been as successful in 2020. The Small Business Bill of Rights (SB 5948), authorizing microenterprise home kitchens (HB 2777), and a property tax exemption to lower triple-net expenses (HB 2881) failed to make it out of committee this year, and GSBA is committed to supporting their reintroduction in 2021. 

    IMG_9410The biggest business-related bill on our agenda this year is the proposal to authorize King County to enact a regional excise tax on businesses to fund solutions for the homelessness crisis. GSBA was cautiously optimistic about the initial proposal, as it improved on several of our biggest concerns from Seattle’s previous efforts at a head tax. It was a serious regional solution to a serious regional problem, businesses seemed to be involved in the crafting of the bill that would impact them, and care seemed to be taken to understand the realities of how small businesses - especially passthrough entities- actually operate. Our Board offered conditional support provided that a pre-emption clause was included to prevent double taxation. Since the original proposal was introduced, several more versions and rumors have surfaced, including a much higher rate (0.25% possibly up to 0.4%) and pre-emption has not yet been included. GSBA continues to monitor the negotiations and welcomes the opinions of our membership on this complex and nuanced policy that we can share with policymakers.

    Other bills that GSBA has been supporting have included several gun control measures that continue to move along in the Legislature, anti-swatting legislation that increases punishments for false police reports, and bans on race-based hair discrimination.

    If you have any questions about GSBA’s advocacy work, or want to share your views on a particular issue, please write to Matt Landers. As a membership organization, GSBA is committed to hearing and sharing your experiences. Learn more about our advocacy programs throughout the year, including ways to participate online and in-person, on our website.
     
  • Transgender Economic Empowerment Coalition Gathers at Creating Change Conference in Dallas

    by Eli Coffin, GSBA Business Training Specialist & Grant Manager
    | Feb 26, 2020

    The Transgender Economic Empowerment Coalition was created in 2018 when community leaders across the Puget Sound came together across organizations and set out to meaningfully work together in a long term sustainable way. With each partaking organization focused around different parts of the LGBTQ community, Ingersoll Gender Center lead the way in uniting GSBA, TRANSform Washington, Gender Diversity, Gay City, POCAAN, and UTOPIA Seattle for this important work.

    creating change 2Our collective goal is to identify barriers and gaps in resources, develop resources, and identify policy solutions to move our communities out of poverty. As organizations led by transgender people and LGBTQ people of color, we are stronger together in finding solutions that address economic inequities that impact access to community connections, housing resources, affordable LGBTQ affirming healthcare. 

    This is complex, hard work. Last year we were able to send a few leaders from our coalition to attend Creating Change, a national conference to learn more about how other communities are approaching these issues, to make new connections, and come back rejuvenated with new ideas. This year, we were to secure funding for a representative from each organization.

    This year’s event was the National LGBTQ Task Force’s 32nd Creating Change Conference. The conference has grown each year, and is centered on “on innovation, justice, liberation, progressive voices, diversity, inclusion, intersectionality, and movement sustainability.” The over 3,000 attendees hailed from across the US to hold space together and grow as a movement. As we learned from each other, deepened our conversations, and shared our visions - our collective liberation became clearer.

    creating change 1We participated in workshops and institutes varying from “Moving Beyond Representational Politics: Valuing Blackness Outside of White Recognition,” “Being Courageous Together: Navigating hard conversations about gender identity, expression, and privilege in the LGBTQIA movement,” to “Nothing About Us Without Us: Today’s Advocates Update Us and Offer Perspective on History of the Intersectionality in Disability Advocacy.”

    Folks from LGBTQ organization, hospitals, student bodies, government agencies, chambers of commerce, all came together and learned from one another. LGBTQ activism is unique in the sense that almost all current social, cultural, and political issues impact our community. LGBTQ people are everywhere, in all cultures, in all countries, across the world, and throughout time. Our issues are unique to us, and are also found within many intersections across marginalized communities. When we value and truly hear those who are most oppressed - who have the most barriers to overcome in order to sit at the table - we create better community solutions that benefit all people. We are all standing on the shoulders of generations who have come before us and led the way. Even though this history has so often been white-washed, many of these fights were fearlessly lead by Black and Brown Trans Women.

    Trans-Agenda-Logo-Full-Color-TransparentThis year, Creating Change honored this important history by amplifying the voices of Black and Brown Trans Women. During the conference, national leaders from the Transgender Law Center released their new 2020 Trans Agenda for Liberation. The agenda is not meant only as a resource for trans activists, but a tool to help guide our next steps as a movement. We know we need to change the power dynamics - and that happens when we all use our positions of power to change the narrative.

    2019 was still one of the deadliest years on record for transgender and gender diverse people. Over 26 transgender and gender diverse people were murdered in acts of anti-trans hate, with over 90% of those being femme and trans women of color. This is our family taken from the world because of hatred that is perpetuated through in-action and misinformation about trans identity and experiences which allows intolerance and hatred to fester.  

    Whether you are a corporate nine-to-five professional, full time parent, student, or small business owner, we ALL need to be coming together for our trans siblings. We ALL need to do better. Trans leaders have literally put together a road map for us to do so. So let’s come together, as a community and move onward. Learn more about the important work of the Transgender Economic Empowerment Coalition.

  • Quinn Angelou-Lysaker Speaks on the Power of Black LGBTQ Literary Tradition

    by GSBA Staff
    | Feb 21, 2020

    In recognizing Black History Month, GSBA is working to amplify Black voices and histories by celebrating the undeniable impact Black LGBTQ activists have had on the LGBTQ civil rights movement, shed light on the specific intersection of Black and LGBTQ identities, and continue the crucial conversation about racial injustice in Washington State. As a part of this work, several GSBA Scholars who identify as Black and LGBTQ have generously shared their stories, thoughts about intersectionality, what Black History means to them, and about what actions make for a strong allyship.

    First-Year GSBA Scholar Quinn Angelou-Lysaker (She/her) grew up in the Mount Baker and Beacon Hill areas of Seattle, WA and now lives in Boston, MA. She attends Boston University where she is pursuing a Political Science major with a Deaf Studies minor and is heavily involved in BU's black cultural organizations. She hopes to enter the NGO sphere working on either housing insecurity or prison reform. 

    029Happy Black History Month! A word from your local black bisexual cat lady, foodie, caregiver, teacher, Rico Nasty stan, and GSBA scholar! I write this from Monterrey, Mexico where I am currently studying abroad, and this new environment has given me lots of food for thought on what Black LGBTQ pride means to me, which I'm excited to share.

    My favorite part of being black and LGBTQ has always been our ethic of interdependence. Whether that be the “House” tradition of black/Latinx trans people and drag queens, or the thriving queer spaces within historically black colleges and universities today, black LGBTQ people have always created loving chosen families. My black lesbian mother was the first person to model this worldview for me. Watching her love and prioritize her friends taught me that I have nothing to gain from competition, gatekeeping, or “cancelling” my people, and everything to gain from embracing them.

    Quinn 4

    One of the blackest, queerest things I do on a regular basis is check on my friends and ask for help when I need it. I recommend bell hook's All About Love, which gives words to this ethic of mutual support. Audre Lorde's Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism and her Uses of the Erotic are also hugely influential texts in my life. Lorde proposes a life philosophy of following our intuition as a way to reclaim our agency and humanity in small ways every day, speaking as a black lesbian whose agency is always under attack. The black LGBTQ literary tradition inspires me so much, and I hope to tell my story and offer wisdom of my own someday. 

    I think one of the best (and most accessible!) ways to celebrate Black History Month is to study up on some black LGBTQ leaders. The Combahee River Collective (CRC) is one amazing, often overlooked piece of black LGBTQ history. This black lesbian activist organization embodied intersectionality: the practice of generating solidarity between social movements representing various identities and collaborating so that we can all get free. I recommend that everyone read their statement and do some research on their work.

    Quinn 3

    Just like the CRC, Marsha P. Johnson's incredible leadership in the Stonewall Riots also teaches us that LGBTQ progress is not just granted in the courthouse, nor is it altruistically handed down by the right politicians. It is won through grassroots struggle, often by some of the most marginalized in our community. As a political science student, this radical tradition makes my heart sing with pride. My black LGBTQ ancestors didn't just speak truth to power. They spoke truth to their siblings about power, and they rose up against it. I hope to fight with that spirit every month of the year.

    I hope this Black History Month teaches you something new and sets the tone for a whole 2020 of allyship and unity with your black community members. Thank you GSBA for this opportunity to share my thoughts! I am proud and blessed to have you all on my team! 

        -- Quinn Angelou-Lynsaker


    February is Black History Month, and we encourage all GSBA Members to celebrate Black lives, culture, and history not only this month - but all year long. You can dine and shop intentionally by supporting the Black-owned small businesses in our community. Check out this guide by GSBA Member Intentionalist of Black-owned businesses throughout the Puget Sound, including several GSBA Members.

    GSBA Members can also take action by investing in regional organizations who work to address institutionalized racism, empower black communities, and ensure that Black histories are never forgotten. Please consider investing in GSBA community partner organizations POCAANUrban League of Metropolitan SeattleTrans Women of Color Solidarity Network, and NW African American Museum.

    The GSBA Scholarship Fund is one of the oldest and most active LGBTQ scholarship programs in the country. The scholarship program works to empower students with marginalized intersectional identities within the LGBTQ+ community and provides not only financial support for LGBTQ+ students, but a network of support, skills-based workshops, and a yearly three-day leadership immersion camp. In 2019, $500,000 was invested in 50 LGBTQ+ and allied students, 46% of whom identify as trans and/or gender diverse, and 72% who identify as students of color. This year, we are proud to invest $600,000 in 60 scholars for the GSBA Scholarship Fund's 30th year. Meet your scholars and hear their stories during the 2020 Scholars Dinner on Friday, May 15. If you are unaable to join us, please consider investing in our future leaders.

  • More Than a Month: Astro Pittman Calls Attention to Racial Injustice

    by GSBA Staff
    | Feb 20, 2020

    In recognizing Black History Month, GSBA is working to amplify Black voices and histories by celebrating the undeniable impact Black LGBTQ activists have had on the LGBTQ civil rights movement, shed light on the specific intersection of Black and LGBTQ identities, and continue the crucial conversation about racial injustice in Washington State. As a part of this work, several GSBA Scholars who identify as Black and LGBTQ have generously shared their stories, thoughts about intersectionality, what Black History means to them, and about what actions make for a strong allyship. 

    Astro 5First-Year GSBA Scholar Astro Pittman (He/him) 
    was born in Italy, raised in Texas, and calls Austin his hometown. Astro has lived in Seattle for over a decade, and is in his junior year at Seattle Central College, pursuing his Baccalaureate in Applied Behavioral Science/Social Work. His focus is on the LGBTQ+ recovery community, specifically those struggling with active substance use disorders and addictions. A recovered addict himself, he seeks to be a beacon of hope while helping others recover.

    GSBA: What is your favorite thing about being Black and LGBTQ?

    Astro: Communities of color have long been proud of their own separate cultural identities that aren’t reflective of the homogenous society that the White patriarchy seems to encourage. There is a strength of character that comes with being fiercely proud of - and standing unwaveringly in - your own unique identity. As a Queer man of color who defies the stereotypes that others have tried to imprint upon me, I have learned to revel in my own individuality. I have no need to assimilate into expected, predictable roles. Instead, I celebrate the parts of me that my naysayers have tried to suppress. I don’t have to choose the path that others have tried to lay out for me. I get to blaze my own trail, as so many brave souls before me have done. 

    GSBA: What’s a misconception or stereotype about being Black and LGBTQ that you would like to call out?

    Astro 1

    Astro: Many people approach being Black from the “one drop” perspective, which says that anyone who has even a drop of African blood should automatically identify with being Black more than with any other facet of their ethnic makeup. I disagree. I happen to be multiracial, and so, I celebrate my multicultural and multifaceted identities as all being equally essential components of my self-awareness and identification. I have taken from each part of me the beliefs, values, and expressions I love most, and woven them together into an amalgamate that makes me feel complete and vibrant. Part of that includes being a fiercely defiant and unique Queer man of color.

    GSBA: In what ways would you like to see people honor Black lives, histories, and experiences throughout the year, and not just in February?

    Astro: I would like to call attention to the environmental racism that many people of color experience every day. In their neighborhoods and communities, people of color are commonly subjected to poor air quality, lack of healthful foods, and toxins and pollutants. There is also the still all-too-prevalent stigma around Black men, crime, and incarceration. We know that the prison pipeline is set up to keep men of color in a revolving door of discrimination through recidivism and lack of opportunity, and once a person gets trapped in this cycle it is extremely difficult to escape it.

    We need to support young Black people, especially young Black men, being given the opportunity to receive higher education and better options for their future than the ones they often see in their immediate environments. We need to mentor and inspire them to rise into their full potential. If these young people don’t have better role models, they will not strive for and achieve more than what they see reflected back at them in their communities.

    (Editor's note: Learn more about the school-to-prison pipeline here and the fight against environmental racism in Washington here.)

    Astro 6GSBA: As an LGBTQ+ person of color, what are some of the behaviors and principles of a good ally which you appreciate and would like to see people do more of?

    Astro: I am a firm believer that the future of Queer people of color will partially rest in the hands of our allies, and so we need more of them, and we need those we have to be more vocal about standing with us. I would ask that our allies give LGBTQ+ people permission to have a different truth than the one you expected. Listen to us. Don’t make assumptions. Assumptions suggest a power dynamic of one person knowing better than the other, and unhealthy power dynamics (like slavery, incarceration and other forms of oppression) are a large part of what got us into this mess in the first place. Let us be the experts of our own lives.

    We, as fellow human beings, need to stop letting our differences get in the way, and start celebrating our similarities. We need to stop fostering division and factionalism within our communities. Although it is important that we all feel seen and have an identity and a community, these things should not come at the cost of unity with one another. If you see or hear someone mistreating, denigrating or slandering an LGBTQ+ person of color, say something! The only way these behaviors will cease is if our allies make it very clear to mainstream communities that these behaviors are unacceptable and will be stopped if they are witnessed. We are mighty when we stand united. 

    Thank you, Astro, for taking the time to share your story and dive into these crucial issues.


    February is Black History Month, and we encourage all GSBA Members to celebrate Black lives, culture, and history not only this month - but all year long. You can dine and shop intentionally by supporting the Black-owned small businesses in our community. Check out this guide by GSBA Member Intentionalist of Black-owned businesses throughout the Puget Sound, including several GSBA Members.
     
    GSBA Members can also take action by investing in regional organizations who work to address institutionalized racism, empower black communities, and ensure that Black histories are never forgotten. Please consider investing in GSBA community partner organizations POCAANUrban League of Metropolitan SeattleTrans Women of Color Solidarity Network, and NW African American Museum.

    The GSBA Scholarship Fund is one of the oldest and most active LGBTQ scholarship programs in the country. The scholarship program works to empower students with marginalized intersectional identities within the LGBTQ+ community and provides not only financial support for LGBTQ+ students, but a network of support, skills-based workshops, and a yearly three-day leadership immersion camp. In 2019, $500,000 was invested in 50 LGBTQ+ and allied students, 46% of whom identify as trans and/or gender diverse, and 72% who identify as students of color. This year, we are proud to invest $600,000 in 60 scholars for the GSBA Scholarship Fund's 30th year. Meet your scholars and hear their stories during the 2020 Scholars Dinner on Friday, May 15. If you are unable to join us, please consider investing in our future leaders.

  • GSBA Goes Theatrically Out & About with The 5th Avenue Theatre

    by Joey Chapman (He/Him), GSBA Membership Development Manager
    | Feb 19, 2020
    056A2001

    GSBA's latest installment of its signature hospitality and tourism networking series, Theatrically Out & About, took place on Tuesday, February 18 with The 5th Avenue Theatre's world premier musical Bliss. Theatrically Out & About is a series of evenings which invites GSBA Members and business leaders - who support GSBA's mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion - to connect with one another while supporting local performing artists.

    GSBA extends a very special thank you to The 5th Avenue Theatre staff, and the cast & crew of Bliss for hosting us on such a magical night. The evening kicked off with a reception generously hosted by The 5th Avenue Theatre, with food and drinks provided by Cutters. Bill Berry, Producing Artistic Director made a special appearance, providing GSBA guests with a Q&A around the creation of Bliss. Bill was accompanied by Corporate and Group Sales Manager Chad Biesman and Director of Marketing Chris Marcacci, who shared about The 5th Avenue’s theatrical season ahead and ticket opportunities extended to GSBA members at a discounted rate.

    Created at the 5th, Bliss is the tale of four royal sisters—a warrior, a pop diva, an animal056A2003 whisperer, and a science whiz—determined to take charge of their own futures. Brilliant, unique, and blessed with killer voices, these sisters set out in search of their destinies… only to find that “happily ever after” is theirs to decide. GSBA guests discovered our “bliss” at The 5th, and you can too! The 5th Avenue Theatre is generously offering 25% off tickets to this season's locally-produced shows and 20% off tickets to national Broadway tour shows to GSBA community members. Just visit www.5thavenue.org and enter the promo code: GSBA to purchase your tickets. Bliss runs till February 23rd.

    056A2002Be sure to use promo code: GSBA to purchase your tickets for the upcoming musical at The 5th Avenue Theatre, Sister Act – running March 13 – April 5, 2020.

    GSBA’s spring installment of Theatrically Out & About, scheduled for Wednesday, April 29, when we will gather at ArtsWest in West Seattle to witness the debut of Alex & Alix.

    If you are interested in attending a GSBA Theatrically Out & About, email Joey Chapman, GSBA Membership Development Manager at JoeyC@theGSBA.org for more details and exclusive invitations.
  • GSBA Scholar Lio O'Cain on Honoring Black Culture & Histories

    by GSBA Staff
    | Feb 19, 2020

    In recognizing Black History Month, GSBA is working to amplify Black voices and histories by celebrating the undeniable impact Black LGBTQ activists have had on the LGBTQ civil rights movement, shed light on the specific intersection of Black and LGBTQ identities, and continue the crucial conversation about racial injustice in Washington State. As a part of this work, several GSBA Scholars who identify as Black and LGBTQ have generously shared their stories, thoughts about intersectionality, what Black History means to them, and about what actions make for a strong allyship. 

    20190201_AmberZbitnoffPhotography_TotemStar_LIO12_0029_hiresFirst-Year GSBA Scholar Lio O'Cain (she/her) is an 18-year-old scholar born in Renton, Washington. She attends college in Mount Vernon, Iowa at Cornell College – where she is studying Child Development, Psychology, and Film. Her goal is to depict psychological, racial, sexual differences in the film industry with mainstream films that are entertaining, realistic, attainable, inclusive and overall mind-blowing.


    GSBA: What is your favorite thing about being Black and LGBTQ?

    Lio: My favorite thing about being black and LGBTQ is knowing I can be any number of things, and none of it has to define me negatively. I always have the chance to decide how being black will coach my interactions with the world and I love learning how being LGBTQ doesn't automatically mean I have it all right because I'm out about it. My favorite thing is knowing it is all still a journey, and I'm having fun. 

    Lio O'Cain 1

    GSBA: In what ways would you like to see people honor Black lives, histories, and experiences throughout the year, and not just in February?  

    Lio: It can start with simply showing up to support POC events and helping to gather other POC's. One may know to get them involved in beautiful things; we hold quite an amount of control over situations that we encounter, and it’s up to us where we take the information we learn, and what we do with it. I'd love if people supported more black stories, black films, read from more and more POC novelists, poets, and writers - and then turned people on to those same artists. Honoring black culture - I believe - takes less energy than ignoring it, because we are so here.

    GSBA: As an LGBTQ+ person of color, what are some of the behaviors and principles of a good ally which you appreciate and would like to see people do more of?

    Lio:
    I appreciate when allies are not looking to be praised for simply being generous, genuine, and honest human beings. Of course, it is amazing when allies are stepping out of their comfort zone to be a version of themselves that some others may not be willing to put in the work to become. There is a limit, however, to the amount of recognition that is deserved for doing what an ally should do. A good behavior I expect of an ally: always using their platform to let LGBTQ+ POC's speak for themselves, do not use their platform to speak for LGBTQ+ POC's.

    GSBA: As a Black LGBTQ+ person, what does Pride embody for you? What does this look like in your daily life?

    Lio: 
    Pride looks a lot like fashion for me; being able to develop my style and the self I want to be on the inside through how I look and feel on the outside-- that includes all the questionable days where I don't know who I want to be, because it gives me a chance to experiment and learn who I don't want to be. Pride looks like taking a chance, being the one to take the leap, being the one to answer the questions rarely asked and letting risk be the base of all passions. 

    Thank you, Lio, for taking the time to share your perspective with us.


    February is Black History Month, and we encourage all GSBA Members to celebrate Black lives, culture, and history not only this month - but all year long. You can dine and shop intentionally by supporting the Black-owned small businesses in our community. Check out this guide by GSBA Member Intentionalist of Black-owned businesses throughout the Puget Sound, including several GSBA Members.
     
    GSBA Members can also take action by investing in regional organizations who work to address institutionalized racism, empower black communities, and ensure that Black histories are never forgotten. Please consider investing in GSBA community partner organizations POCAANUrban League of Metropolitan SeattleTrans Women of Color Solidarity Network, and NW African American Museum.

    The GSBA Scholarship Fund is one of the oldest and most active LGBTQ scholarship programs in the country. The scholarship program works to empower students with marginalized intersectional identities within the LGBTQ+ community and provides not only financial support for LGBTQ+ students, but a network of support, skills-based workshops, and a yearly three-day leadership immersion camp. In 2019, $500,000 was invested in 50 LGBTQ+ and allied students, 46% of whom identify as trans and/or gender diverse, and 72% who identify as students of color. This year, we are proud to invest $600,000 in 60 scholars for the GSBA Scholarship Fund's 30th year. Meet your scholars and hear their stories during the 2020 Scholars Dinner on Friday, May 15. If you are unable to join us, please consider investing in our future leaders.
  • New Seattle Labor Ordinances Take Effect: Is Your Business Up-to-Date?

    by Eli Coffin
    | Jan 07, 2020
    GSBA_2018_OLS_7x5_FRONT_3

    2020 is here - a brand new decade, ushering in opportunity for growth and change. For businesses in Seattle, this new year comes with more major changes within municipal code around labor standards. These impact all employers with one or more employee within the city of Seattle, regardless of employees’ immigration status or location of their employer.

    Seattle workers have protections around minimum wage, paid sick and safe time, fair chance employment, wage theft, and new in 2020 - commuter benefits. To get a complete training on all standards and how to implement them correctly, please feel free to reach out to elic@thegsba.org to schedule an individual consult. Some major changes for all employers to look out include the following:

    • New 2020 Workplace Posters are coming! Keep an eye out in your mailbox and make sure you have an 11x17" employment poster in English and any other primary languages of employees posted in a conspicuous location. If you haven’t received your 2020 poster, let us know and we can get you what you need.
    • Small Employer minimum wage is increasing to $15.75 an hour. If you provide at least $2.25/hour towards medical benefits and/or tips, you can pay $13.50/hour. This wage will continue to increase by a cost of living every year, implemented on the first of January each year.
    • Finally, Commuter Benefits! If you have 20 or more employees, you may allow employees to make a pre-tax deduction up to the full amount allowed by federal law or subsidize all or part of the purchase price of a transit pass.
      • The Office of Labor Standards are still working on the rules and enforcement process for this ordinance. Exact details around logistics, minimum requirements, and compliance have yet to be released. However, at GSBA we know many of our members use trusted third party system, like Alice, to operate and track these kinds of pre-tax deductions. As the city rolls out more information around compliance we will keep you updated.

    As we turn our calendars, button the hatches, and prep for a new year, hopefully this can give you a piece of mind you are still on track. Concerned you aren’t in compliance or need another set of eyes? Please feel free to reach out to Eli Coffin at elic@thegsba.org and they are happy to answer any other questions regarding the Seattle labor requirements.  

  • Plan Your 2020 Events with GSBA Member Businesses

    by GSBA Staff
    | Dec 23, 2019

    Event Food
    2020 is just days away, and it is never too early to begin planning your 2020 events calendar. Organizing an event or a meeting for ten people requires some planning. Planning an event for 100 people takes some time and logistics to work it all out. Planning a conference for 1,000 people means you’ll need a lot of help. That’s where GSBA comes in. If you’ve ever been to a GSBA event like one of our networking mixers, a luncheon, or one of our major GSBA galas, you’ve probably wondered, ‘how do they do it?’ The answer is simple – we have a lot of help from GSBA professional member businesses to pull it off.

    Meetings, parties, conferences, and events big and small – GSBA has business members to help you with that. Locations, food, coffee, drink, AV, video production, photographers, printers, and entertainment – there’s someone in the GSBA Guide & Directory to help you out. If event planning is not your forte, that’s okay! GSBA has a slew of event and planning partners to help see you through. Bringing people together is what GSBA does. So let your fellow GSBA member businesses lend a hand as you plan your next meeting, event, or conference.

    Bakeries

    A la Mode Pies

    Colombian Delight Bakery LLP

    Cupcake Royale & Vérité Coffee

    Daily Dozen Doughnut

    Nuflours Bakery

    Sea Wolf Bakers

    Street Treats

    Top Pot Doughnuts and Coffee

    Buses, Charter & Rental

    Starline Luxury Coaches

    Caterers

    Cameron Catering

    Catering Company, The

    Chef Dane Catering

    City Catering Company

    Herban Feast Catering

    Lisa Dupar Catering

    Lola's LLC

    Madres Kitchen

    Marination Catering

    Shooby Doo Catering

    Thyme Well Spent Catering

    Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering and Events, A Dsquared Company

    Coffee

    Broadcast Coffee Roasters

    Cherry Street Coffee House

    Fuel Coffee

    Kaladi Brothers Coffee

    Landscapes Cafe

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

    Disc Jockeys

    DJ Mixx America

    Lighting the Sound Productions

    Seattle Parties

    Entertainment & Musicians

    321 FOTO | Photo Booths

    A Sensible Theatre Co.

    Animate Objects Productions

    Professional Entertainment's GigRoster.com

    Teatro ZinZanni

    V J Music

    Event Planning/ Facilities / Meetings / Conferences

    America's Test Kitchen

    Animate Objects Productions

    Atlas Workbase

    Cascadia Emergency Management LLC

    Chaleur Creative

    Dystopian State Brewing Co

    Foundry by Herban Feast, The

    Ideas by CeCe LLC

    Kerloo Cellars

    Kiana Lodge

    Lounge by AT&T, The

    Lucky Strike Entertainment

    Manor House at Pleasant Beach Village

    Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center

    New Chapter Weddings & Events, LLC

    Novelty Hill-Januik Winery

    Portage Bay Café

    Sodo Park by Herban Feast

    Space Needle

    Synchronicity Events, LLC

    Task Ernie

    Washington State Convention Center

    White Horse Golf Club

    Woodland Park Zoo

    Worktank

    World Trade Center

    Florists

    ARIA | STYLE

    Clary Sage Studio

    Sal Floral Design

    Smashing Petals

    Photographers

    DIWAS Photography

    Dylan M. Austin Photography

    kapchur.us photography

    Malayka Gormally Photography and Portrait Painting

    Malcolm Smith Photography

    Mary Grace McKernan Photography

    Meryl Schenker Photography

    Naomi Ishisaka Photography and Design

    Nate Gowdy Photography

    Youth in Focus

    Printers

    Consolidated Press LLC

    Copiers Northwest Inc

    Girlie Press, Inc

    PIP Marketing, Signs, Print

    Promotional Products

    B-Bam!

    BRAND|PRIDE

    Bodemer's Ballograf Seattle

    Choke Print Shop

    CoPilot Cat

    Northwest Logo Products

    ZippyDogs

    Security

    CASCADIA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, LLC

    T-Shirts

    Choke Print Shop

    Transportation

    Butler Seattle - Valet | Transportation | Tours

    InquisTours and the NW Wine & Rail Tours

    Lime

    Lyft

    MTRWestern

    Sound Transit

    Starline Luxury Coaches

    Video Production

    BrandQuery LLC

    Elliat Creative

    InterChange Media Art Productions LLC

    Playfish Media

    ProMotion Arts

    Worktank

  • Look Your Best in 2020 with GSBA Creative Members

    by Eric Moss
    | Dec 16, 2019
    Marketing Photo Shoot
    With 2020 just days away, many businesses are thinking about what the new decade will bring. A new year brings new trends and new opportunities to refresh your brand, attract new customers, and update collateral to appeal to modern audiences. Whether you brand look, collateral, advertising, and swag feel is tried-and-true, or you need a complete refresh, GSBA has members across the board to help. Need a new head shot or marketing photos? Contract with one of GSBA’s phenomenal member photographers. Need to create some buzz about your business? Hire one of GSBA’s marvelous member marketers, or place an ad with GSBA, or one of our amazing member advertisers. Updating collateral? No problem! GSBA member writers, graphic designers, and printers are here to help. For videos, promotional products, and more, turn to the GSBA Guide & Directory for all of your creative needs.

     

    Advertising

    GSBA ADVERTISING

    Brkthru Digital

    Encore Media Group

    Humming Inc

    Liot Design

    Advertising Agency

    BrandQuery LLC

    GreenRubino

    Headquarters Creative

    Information Design / Data Visualization

    data2insight LLC

    Vizzy Solutions + The Dirty Data Girl

    Marketing Services

    2A Consulting

    Blue Guardrail Marketing Agency

    Headquarters Creative

    Larson Marketing & Communications LLC

    Northwest Polite Society

    Porter Novelli

    RCB Communications

    Rule Seven

    Shingletown Marketing Company

    Social Driver

    Wheelhouse Digital Marketing Group

    WHY FOR GOOD

    Photographers

    DIWAS Photography

    Dylan M. Austin Photography

    kapchur.us photography

    Malayka Gormally Photography and Portrait Painting

    Malcolm Smith Photography

    Mary Grace McKernan Photography

    Meryl Schenker Photography

    Naomi Ishisaka Photography and Design

    Nate Gowdy Photography

    Youth in Focus

    Printers

    Consolidated Press LLC

    Copiers Northwest Inc

    Girlie Press, Inc

    PIP Marketing, Signs, Print

    Promotional Products

    B-Bam!

    Brand|Pride

    Bodemer's Ballograf Seattle

    Choke Print Shop

    CoPilot Cat

    Northwest Logo Products

    ZippyDogs

    Public Relations / Public Affairs

    Action Mary

    GreenRubino

    Nyhus Communications LLC

    Porter Novelli

    RCB Communications

    Publications & Publishers

    GSBA Guide & Directory

    The Perspective - GSBA's Quarterly Digital Magazine


    Chinook Book

    Encore Media Group

    International Examiner

    Pacific Northwest Weddings

    Publisher, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

    Puget Sound Business Journal

    Seattle Gay News

    Seattle Lesbian, The

    Seattle Met

    Publications – Online

    GSBA Guide & Directory

    The Perspective - GSBA's Quarterly Digital Magazine


    Grist Magazine Inc

    Seattle Gay Scene

    Radio

    C89.5

    Social Media & Online Marketing Services

    Deph Digital Media

    Social Stage, The

    Video Production

    BrandQuery LLC

    Elliat Creative

    InterChange Media Art Productions LLC

    Playfish Media

    ProMotion Arts

    Worktank

    Web Marketing

    GSBA Web Marketing

    Wheelhouse Digital Marketing Group

    Web Site Design

    Dancing Goat Web Design

    Logical Alternative

    Writing & Editing

    Bits & Pages

  • The Role of Businesses in the 2020 Census

    by Matt Landers, Public Policy & Government Affairs Director
    | Nov 26, 2019

    Why Should Businesses Care?

    In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will be encouraging residents to complete an online version of the Census. The decennial Census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution to accurately count the number of people living in the country in order to fairly distribute public resources (i.e. tax funds) and to redraw electoral districts of equivalent sizes at all scales of government. The law requires that everyone living in the U.S. fill out the Census. Being counted is critical – it shows the proper size of communities across the country, and helps public agencies and advocates better support their constituents and clients.

    The Census also impacts businesses across the county. Companies rely on the Census for demographic information about customers, their workforce, and the economic landscape. Public funding such as transportation, housing, education, workforce development, and other efforts that contribute to a thriving economy rely on a complete count.

    Reaching all segments of the population, especially hard-to-count groups like those with unreliable internet access,

    How Can a Small Business Be Involved?

    • Encourage employees, customers, and the general public to fill out the Census online
    • Put up signs in your business and post on your social media accounts
    • Connect with National, State, and Local partners like the Washington State Complete Count Committee, the Seattle Complete County Committee, and the Washington LGBTQ Census Coalition.
    • Become a U.S. Census Bureau Partner to get free support and materials

     

    ReadyNation’s Business for the 2020 Census toolkit has many of these resources and more.

    If you have any questions about how your business can help support a complete and accurate 2020 Census, please contact GSBA or ReadyNation for more details.


  • Row House Announces Grand Opening Celebration

    by GSBA Staff
    | Nov 26, 2019

    Row House West Seattle Logo

     Join GSBA in congratulating new member business Row House West Seattle on their Grand Opening, December 7, 2019 in West Seattle. Join the Row House team from 1:00 - 4:00 PM for the festivities, or take a free community class the same day at 8:00 AM OR 2:00 PM. Other activities will include a Roll and Recover Workshop with Tangelo Chiropractic & Functional Rehabilitation, raffles, samples, wine tasting with Welcome Road, and more!

    For owners Melinda Partin and Kelly McLain, fitness should be fun, effective, and accessible. Their motto for the newly opened Row House on Alaska Junction in Seattle is, “We are humble, we are kind, we leave no rower behind.”

    Row House West Seattle is a boutique fitness studio that offers 45-minute low impact, full-body, cardio workouts suitable for any age or fitness level. One of the reasons Melinda and Kelly decided to open Row House was because of the accessibility (and fun) of the rowing modality. Classes promote a team atmosphere - members can see their own efforts on machine displays -  but the main displays show the total class distance and average split time (how fast the “boat” is going). The entire class is encouraged to work together to lower split times and increase the distance. In the Row House, every person contributes to the overall success of the team.

    Row House West Seattle StaffPrior to opening Row House together, Melinda had previously owned her own marketing business, and recently was Senior Director of Marketing and Digital at UW Medicine. She wanted to get out from behind a desk and bring something to the community that promoted health and wellness. Kelly works in human resources at Amazon and between the two of them, they decided this was a business they could enjoy doing together.

    Even before opening their doors, Melinda and Kelly knew they wanted to give back to community, and one way they saw they could do that was by joining GSBA. Melinda explains, “We believe in GSBA’s mission of promoting equality and diversity in the workplace, and investing in the next generation of leaders. We are thankful to have GSBA and are proud to be members of such an amazing organization bringing so much positive impact for LGTBQ and allied businesses to our state and nation.”

    Row House You Are Capable Of Amazing Things - Melinda PartinRow House has built equality into their business by keeping diversity and accessibility in mind. Melinda describes their incorporation of values, “Row House provides an opportunity for all ages, genders, and fitness levels to come together in a community-minded environment and work together to achieve personal fitness goals. Being able to offer a workout that can challenge and improve the health of the fittest of the fit, to the person coming back from injury, to health concerns, or the couch – regardless of age, provides a level of equality often overlooked in the fitness industry. Every 'body' is celebrated here."

    Check out their website at www.therowhouse/location/west-seattle, call 206-397-8828, or email melinda.partin@therowhouse.com to sign up for a free trial class. GSBA members can join as an Unlimited Member or 8x Monthly Member and receive a 20% discount.

  • Shop Small, Shop the Hill this Holiday Season

    by Christina Arrington, Business Development Manager - Capitol Hill Specialist
    | Nov 26, 2019

    Small businesses are the backbone of local economies and the bedrock of strong communities. Investing locally is one of the best ways to strengthen a neighborhood, and holiday shopping is no different. Join us on November 30th to celebrate Small Business Saturday as we support the retailers and restaurants run by those among us.

    small biz saturdayAmerican Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 as a way to highlight the value of small businesses in America, and more importantly to find tangible means of supporting their growth. Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday specifically encourages consumers to patronize small and/or local businesses. The initiative seems to be working; 1 in 6 U.S. consumers say they’re aware of the shopping holiday, and 80% of them intend to shop at independent retailers that day.

    Supporting small business makes a big impact. When only 50% of small businesses survive the five-year mark, purchasing your goods and gifts from the shop down the street could be the difference between a small business staying open or closing its doors.

    More than 99% of all businesses in the U.S. are small enterprises, and they employbuy local 47.5% of the American workforce. Brick-and-mortar shops – and the folks who work them – have a cultural impact. They are the cornerstones of our communities, the threads that create vibrant and unique connections. Our neighborhoods would not be the same without them.

    The financial benefits of shopping small are clear. One of the greatest impacts of Small Business Saturday is that it encourages shopping local year-round. As American Express notes, 96% of consumers who reported shopping on Small Business Saturday said they felt more inclined to shop small throughout the year. And for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays within the local economy. Compare that to the $43 that large businesses reinvest. Where does that extra $25 go? Let’s keep it local.

    If you’re a local entrepreuner, there are plenty of ways you can leverage Small Business Saturday. What works for one may not work for another, so research your industry, talk to your peers, get a sense of what other businesses are trying… and then decide what works for you.

    Check out these 21 Simple Ideas for a Successful Small Business Saturday by Entrepreneur Magazine. Suggestions include everything from offering incentives to extending hours. Don’t try to compete with the “big dogs” if you can help it, but do try to celebrate other small businesses! Use this as an opportunity to think strategically for the entire year.

    However you get involved, promote it appropriately. Many businesses find success implementing a targeted email marketing strategy, and social media provides another direct way to engage with potential customers. Use the hashtags #SmallBizSat #ShopSmall and #SmallBusinessSaturday to increase your exposure and tap into existing conversations.

    shop smallInterested in supporting local small businesses but unsure where to begin? This holiday season, support our LGBTQ and allied member businesses in the Business Resource Guide & Directory. Equality is good business!

    In concert with Capitol Hill Seattle (CHS), this year the Capitol Hill Business Alliance (CHBA) will also continue the tradition of supporting local entrepreneurs via the popular neighborhood campaign Shop Small, Shop the Hill.

    Local artist Rachel Quast designed the winning poster, which will be seen in storefronts across Capitol Hill throughout 2020. It’s an eye-catching visual reminder of the importance of supporting our local economy – not just for this holiday, but all year long.

    Got a hot promotion this holiday shopping season?
    The Shop the Hill page on Facebook features the goods from our local businesses. If you’re a merchant in Capitol Hill, it’s free to add your Shop the Hill promotions via Facebook directly, while conscious consumers should follow the page for new deals, events, and promotions.

  • Paul Paladino on Attending UW Foster School of Business's Minority Business Executive Program

    by GSBA
    | Nov 20, 2019

    This September, principal and co-founder of GSBA member business Paladino & Co. Paul Paladino attended University of Washington Foster School of Business’s Minority Business Executive Program (MBEP), after being selected by GSBA to participate in the course.

    The five-day intensive course was created over ten years ago to accelerate the growth of diverse suppliers to leading corporations by combining lectures, panels, interactive simulations, team exercises and more to provide minority business leaders with skills to advance their business. Graduates of the program average more than 10% of business revenue growth compared to their competition. Nearly 20 years ago, Paul co-founded Paladino & Co., a Seattle-based sustainability consulting firm which specializes in assisting architects, developers, corporations, and those in the public sector with cutting costs and improving functionality through sustainable design.

    After completing the program, we caught up with Paul to hear about how the course has benifitted Paladino & Co.

    GSBA: What did you enjoy about the program?

    Paul: “(The program) provided a comprehensive curriculum which covered a host of business disciplines – all relevant to any business owner. (This included) finance, marketing, negotiations, communication, organizational change, and leadership. The format varied from lectures by the professors, to in-class discussions of advance readings, panel sessions with MBEP program alums, and challenging team exercises.

    In addition to feeding us well throughout the day, I especially appreciated the social events hosted by the program: a happy hour, an offsite casual dinner, and a graduation dinner. These events gave us all a chance to get to know each other.”

    GSBA: Did you have a chance to get to know your professors and peers?

    Paul: “The students were a highly-engaged and driven group of about 27 current and aspiring business owners from all types of industries, mostly services and some providers of goods. The faculty were all distinguished experts in their disciplines, very smart and engaging, with true passions for their respective field. (They were) well-prepared and all had a great sense of humor.”

    GSBA: How will what you learned help you and Paladino & Co.?

    Paul: “I took away useful information and insight from all the sections. I particularly enjoyed the leadership section. I learned valuable take-away lessons, (such as how) we are more willing to do autopsies on failures and we’re too quick to be seduced by our success. Best-in-class performers are not seduced by their success, (but) they’re always asking how they can do better. We must study the successes with the same rigor we study problems.

    Also, on developing a highly-engaged workforce, I discovered that high performance leads to satisfaction, and not the other way around. We have to help our people perform better, because when we help people to succeed, you give them genuine satisfaction.”

    Alongside Paul, fellow GSBA Member Nat Stratton-Clarke of Café Flora and Floret was also selected to partake in the program. GSBA Members who’d like to attend the program must be LGBTBE Certified. Program tuition is covered by corporate sponsors.

    MBEP prioritizes business owners from marginalized backgrounds, including people of color, LGBTQ community members, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and other minority groups. Applications for the 2020 session are due by May 1.

  • Stand in Solidarity On This 20th Transgender Day of Remembrance

    by GSBA
    | Nov 19, 2019

    Twenty-one years ago, Rita Hester, a black transwoman, was killed in an act of hate in her Boston apartment. As the one-year anniversary of her death approached, activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith organized a vigil in San Francisco’s Castro District on Nov. 20, 1999, to honor Rita’s life and others who had been killed in acts of anti-trans violence.

    EthanParker-TDOR-1024x613Today, on the 20th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, we honor the 22 transgender lives which have been lost to hate in 2019 alone. Like Rita Hester, many of the people who were killed this year, were also transgender womxn of color. Transgender Day of Remembrance arrives at the end of National Transgender Awareness Week, a week created to heighten these critical issues and the experiences of transgender and gender-diverse people. While visibility of transgender people has certainly increased over the past few years in our arts, media, politics, - and the LGBTQ community itself - this epidemic of violence against trans people and the silencing of these experiences remain.

    We at GSBA understand that these deeply intersectional issues do not exist in a vacuum. We understand that many of our institutions today house systems which exclude trans people and silence trans experiences, allow for prejudice and discrimination, and have inadequate policies when it comes to holding bias or hate accountable. This systematic oppression works as a pillar from which transphobic and racist rhetoric and violence stem. We can all do more, and we must do more now.

    You can play a role in disarming anti-trans hate and establishing equality for transgender and gender diverse people in both your professional and personal lives. First, having a basic understanding of gender and transgender identity, as well as how gender intersects with race, is a great starting point to becoming an ally. Next, our community partners Gender Diversity and Ingersoll Gender Center also offer comprehensive trainings for individuals and businesses, which we strongly encourage all GSBA Members to utilize. These trainings can help you understand what barriers transgender and gender diverse professionals might experience at work and how you can take steps to eliminate them. You can also use our Transparent Inclusion at Work checklist to help guide you along this process. Wherever you are in this process, remember that GSBA is here to help you become the best ally you can be.

    Finally, the Puget Sound is home to several organizations which empower and support our transgender and gender diverse community members, such as Ingersoll Gender Center, Gender Diversity, TRANSform Washington, UTOPIA Seattle, Gay CityTrans Women of Color Solidarity Network, Gender Justice League, and the GSBA Scholarship Fund (46% of GSBA Scholars identify as trans community members). On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, we hope you’ll honor those impacted by anti-trans violence and rhetoric by considering investing in the work of these incredible organizations.

    In remembrance and solidarity,

    GSBA Staff

    Artwork by Ethan Parker, Forward Together

  • Member Candidate Profile: Joe McDermott

    by Joe McDermott, King County Councilmember, Dist 8
    | Oct 31, 2019
     
    GSBA has invited all of its members who are running for office to provide a statement to share with the rest of the membership. We are posting the statements as we receive them. GSBA does not endorse candidates, but we are happy to let those candidates who are part of our organization introduce themselves to the rest of our membership. Don't forget to vote and mail in your ballots before Tuesday, November 5!

    Dear fellow GSBA members,

    I am so proud to be a member of this community. When I came out at the age of 30 in 1997, it was a real concern that it would be an obstacle to my passion to serve in public office. I was fortunate to have the unconditional love of my parents and family and friends -- and when I ran for the State Legislature, I was able to be an advocate for our community at a time when we had very few of our own in elected office. In the State Legislature I made it a priority to advocate for the whole LGBTQ+ community. I led on adding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to our anti-discrimination laws, introduced and paased legislation to include transgender people in our hate crimes statute, set the stage for marriage equality, and stood next to the Governor when she signed marriage equality into law.

    In 2010 I was elected the first openly gay member of the King County Council, and it has been my immense honor to work on your behalf every day! Here are some of the things I’ve done during the past few years:

    • I secured $15 million for expanding homeless shelters and passed legislation dedicating $660 million in lodging taxes to build affordable housing.
    • I authored and passed the Gun Safety Action Plan, which requires gun owners to securely store firearms and ammunition, and requires the Sheriff’s Office to destroy forfeited weapons. The Plan aims to reduce suicides, accidental deaths, and the prevalence of guns in our communities.
    • I fought back against Trump’s anti-immigrant policies by enacting the Immigrant & Refugee Fund. The Fund has provided hundreds of immigrants with legal advice and representation to protect families from being separated by deportation.
    • I led the effort to deliver more Rapid Ride buses to Delridge and Burien, and am pushing Metro and Sound Transit to prioritize equitable fares and fare enforcement, and, as a Sound Transit Board Member, am fighting for a Light Rail tunnel into West Seattle.

    I’d like to continue this work. For my re-election campaign I’m proud to have the endorsements of The Stranger and The Seattle Times, as well as labor unions and progressive organizations across our region, including: King County Democrats, MLK Labor Council, Washington Conservation Voters, and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

    Most importantly, I’d like to have your endorsement. Please feel free to reach out to me any time! My email is info@joemcdermott.org

    With PRIDE, 

    -Joe

    Joe McDermott

    King County Councilmember, District 8



  • Meet GSBA's Office Administrator, Gabriel Neuman

    | Oct 16, 2019
    IMG_7562Earlier this month, GSBA welcomed Gabriel Neuman (they/them) to the team as the chamber's Office Administrator. 

    Gabriel attended Seattle University where they studied Political Science and Public Affairs. While in college, they began volunteering for the International Foster Care Alliance, where they trained social workers and child welfare officials on the correct use of pronouns and other needs of LGBTQ youth. Now as a part-time evening student at the Seattle University School of Law, Gabriel has provided volunteer legal work with GSBA community partner Lavender Rights Project. From their history in these areas, Gabriel has developed a passion for LGBTQ advocacy and representation.

    “I thrilled to have joined the GSBA team! When it came to my career, I was looking for an organization that is passionate about investing in our local community and lifting up the voices of its LGBTQ members," Gabe said. "In this position, I hope to reflect GSBA’s communal spirit to create positive change in a community that has helped shape who I am today.”

    Gabriel grew up in Poulsbo, just west of Seattle, and has lived in the city for six years. While they love the Pacific Northwest, they are always planning their next travel adventure, usually to attend a concert in a new city. When they’re not at work you can find them studying for class, perusing a local record store, or planning their next concert outing.

  • Meet Christina Arrington, Your Capitol Hill Specialist

    | Oct 10, 2019

    IMG_7544As GSBA's newly hired Business Development Manager - Capitol Hill Specialist, Christina Arrington (she/her) focuses her efforts on growing the engagement, development, and advocacy opportunities available to Capitol Hill's businesses and nonprofits through the Capitol Hill Business Alliance (CHBA), Capitol Hill's neighborhood chamber. She’s excited to join the GSBA’s ongoing efforts to support and strengthen the economic vitality of the local business community.

    Originally hailing from Southern Oregon, Christina attended Santa Clara University for her undergraduate degree where she studied Political Science and Gender Studies. She then received her Master’s in Women’s Studies (with an emphasis in queer theory) from San Diego State University. During that time Christina co-directed the National LGBT Conference for Jesuit Universities at SCU, helped establish a Safe Zones program at SDSU, and coordinated educational panels and drag shows.

    After graduate school, Christina embarked on a two-year travel adventure that entailed exploring the U.S. in a motorhome, housesitting through Europe, and slow-traveling in Southeast Asia. In addition to working remotely for a web development consultancy, she also developed (and ultimately sold) a travel blog documenting her experiences.

    In 2013, Christina settled in Seattle and began working at Solid Ground in the fundraising department, managing the nonprofit's events and sponsorships. It was there she discovered the work of GSBA, and began volunteering at and attending GSBA's Womxn on Top and Young Professional with Pride events. Following her role at Solid Ground, Christina set out on the path of self-employment by founding a small business focused on brand storytelling and strategic content creation.

    With professional expertise in operations, advocacy, and marketing, Christina is eager to bring her myriad skills to the table as she works to fulfill the GSBA mission and support Seattle's liveliest neighborhood through the CHBA. As a former Capitol Hill resident, Christina feels a strong connection to the neighborhood and remains invested in the vibrancy of this community. She believes cities and neighborhoods develop their own unique personalities, and is grateful Capitol Hill has maintained its character even as the area has experienced substantial transformation.

    Christina’s non-work passions include mycology, helping her rescue puppy adjust to the world, and building relationships with her cadre of wonderful niblings (nieces and nephews).

  • Vote: APPROVE 1-1000/R-88 and NO on I-976

    by Matt Landers, Public Policy & Government Relations Director
    | Oct 09, 2019
    WA Fairness Logo

     
    One of GSBA’s top advocacy priorities for many years has been to increase opportunities for minority and underrepresented businesses to compete for public contracts. One of the principle targets of that work was to undo the harmful effects of Initiative 200, which was passed in 1998. I-200 made Washington one of only two states to explicitly ban outreach to historically marginalized communities to help determine outcomes in public education, contracting, and employment.

    In 2019, GSBA supported Initiative 1000, an important policy that will restore fairness for small business owners, veterans, woman, and people of color seeking to succeed in public employment, contracting, and university admissions – without the use of caps or quotas. 

    GSBA strongly supports the effort to APPROVE I-1000 / R-88, along with a strong coalition of other business organizations, labor, and civic leaders. We urge our membership to vote APPROVE under Referendum 88 on their ballots to retain I-1000 as the law.I-1000 successfully passed the Washington State Legislature and was signed by Governor Inslee, however it is being challenged on the November 2019 ballot under Referendum 88.

    According to Washington’s Office of Women and Minority Business Enterprises, since the passage of I-200, state spending with certified minority and woman-owned businesses has dropped from 10% to 3%, resulting in a devastating $3.8 billion, 20-year loss of revenue. Diversity in our public university and college populations has declined statewide as well.

    Approving I-1000/R-88 would being the process of reversing the inequitable trends resulting from I-200. More economic opportunities would be afforded to veterans, small business owners, women, and people of color through public employment and contracting. The student body of Washington’s universities would begin to better reflect the state as a whole. And, finally, the passage of I-1000/R-88 sends a critical message about how our shared values and beliefs should be codified into state law. We can take tangible, collective action to level the playing field for working families with the most urgent unmet needs, and we should strive to make Washington a place where someone’s race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other status isn’t a generational determinant of their ability to thrive or share equitably in the prosperity afforded to our region.

    Please vote APPROVE on Initiative 1000 / Referendum 88 this November.

    Learn more about the WA Fairness Campaign.

    -----

    VOTE NO ON I-976

    No976GSBA strongly endorses a NO vote on Initiative 976.

    The idea of $30 car tabs sounds appealing, but the cost will be too much for our state. All parts of Washington are growing, and some of the biggest frustrations are around commute times and transportation, which will all get significantly worse if I-976 passes this November. I-976 threatens road, rail, and public transportation projects that connect millions of people to jobs, education, health care, and each other every year throughout Washington State.

    By repealing critical transportation funding, I-976 cripples our ability to fix dangerous highways, retrofit bridges and overpasses, expand light rail, maintain ferries, build voter-approved projects, improve freight corridors, and invest in the Washington State Patrol. Even if you don’t ride public transit yourself, you will be impacted by experiencing higher traffic and worsening infrastructure. I-976 specifically targets funds that pay for special services for seniors, veterans, children, and the disables. The initiative threatens to cut critical, voter-approved transit services across the state.

    Join GBSA and a strong coalition of business, labor, tribes, cities, and civic leaders in opposing Tim Eyman’s I-976. For any small business trying to get product to or from their location, for any employee who commutes to work, for any customer who is trying to get to a store, it is imperative to vote NO on I-976.

    Learn more about the No on 976 Campaign.

     

     


  • Make Your Mark on Capitol Hill

    by GSBA Staff
    | Oct 08, 2019

    Open Contest for Local Artists & Creatives

    GSBA-CapHillChamberAd-FacebookEventCover-1920x1080-01bWe are looking for fun, creative designs that represent the look and feel of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and will complement the storefront windows in the variety of diverse businesses located in the district. This contest is open to everyone. This is an opportunity to showcase your creativity and skills in hundreds of stores across the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and contribute to the success of local small business.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration celebrates Small Business Saturday each year on the last Saturday in November. To celebrate and promote small businesses year-round, Capitol Hill businesses hang posters in their storefronts encouraging folks to “Shop Small, Shop the Hill.” GSBA, Washington State’s LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce, through their program Capitol Hill Business Alliance (CHBA), are continuing this tradition by holding an open contest for the annual “Shop Small, Shop the Hill” poster design.

    Specs:
    • 11 inches x 17 inches
    • 1/8 inch bleed on all sides
    • CMYK
    • 300 dpi
    • PDF

    Must include:
    • CHBA logo (Logo can be found here: https://bit.ly/30Gp3M0)
    • Both phrases, “Shop Small” and “Shop the Hill”
    • Artist may include their logo or brand on bottom of poster

    The winner will receive:
    • 1 year GSBA membership* ($495+)
    • 2 Tickets to the GSBA Annual Meeting and Holiday Luncheon, December 11, 2019 ($350)
    • 1 Year placement of small web ad on theGSBA.org* ($2,100)
    • Member spotlight in one weekly e-blast to distribution of 9,600+ active emails ($200)
    • Bragging rights as the “Shop the Hill” poster designer (Priceless)

    DEADLINE: All submissions must be sent to communications@thegsba.org by 11:59pm November 10, 2019. Selections will be made by November 13 and the winner will be announced November 15.

    *Membership and advertising contingent on eligibility criteria. Contact membership@thegsba.org with any membership and advertising criteria questions.