Who We Are
Established in 1981, GSBA is Washington State’s LGBTQ+ and allied chamber of commerce and is the largest of its kind in North America. We represent small business, corporate, and nonprofit members who share the values of promoting equality and diversity in the workplace.
GSBA proudly serves as a connector across the region, bringing the community together through business while advocating for civil rights and small business, promoting LGBTQ+ tourism, and investing in the next generation of leaders through the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund.
GSBA acknowledges that our organizational identity is rooted in this place we call home, which stands upon the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish peoples, many of whom continue to thrive here. We commit to recognizing and celebrating the diversity and intersectionality of two-spirit and other gender-diverse identities expressed by Native & Indigenous businesses, scholars, and leaders within our community and beyond. We honor these voices as essential to our mission of achieving equity for all.
To combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community and those who support equality for all.
A vibrant global economy strengthened through the full participation of diverse local communities.
Exchange Ideas Increase Visibility Work Collaboratively Celebrate Diversity Promote Inclusiveness Invest in Future Leaders
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Must one be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ+) to join GSBA?
Anyone who supports GSBA’s mission and Code of Ethics is eligible to join. Those who support our mission but are not LGBTQ are considered allied.
Q: Where can I find information about GSBA's membership benefits?
A: You can find information here or please call the GSBA office at (206) 363-9188 to request a membership brochure.
Q: What if I'm not in business or a professional? Can GSBA still offer me anything?
A: GSBA members work in the for-profit, non-profit and public sectors representing business and professional leaders who are self-employed, business owners, CEOs, elected officials, government employees and students and retirees. Membership provides more than business networking and marketing opportunities – GSBA offers visibility, advocacy, connection with the nonprofit community and support for the next generation of LGBTQ+ and allied leaders through the GSBA Scholarship Fund. GSBA is a thriving and diverse community.
Q: If I live or work outside of Seattle, does it still make sense for me to join GSBA?
A: GSBA is the largest chamber of its kind in the United States. Since its founding in 1981, GSBA has grown from a Seattle-centric chamber, to one that serves communities across Washington State. Having a large, broad constituency also helps GSBA more effectively advocate for those who live or work in less inclusive areas of Washington.
Q: Do I have to be a GSBA member to attend GSBA programs and events?
A: Everyone is welcome to attend GSBA’s programs and events, but only members may advertise in GSBA publications and enjoy the benefit of significantly reduced fees to participate in events.
Q: What makes GSBA different than other business chambers?
A: GSBA is as much a community as it is a business chamber. GSBA members are loyal and steadfast in their commitment to a code of ethics that stands for diversity and inclusiveness, providing quality services and products and a commitment to philanthropy and investing in the future through the GSBA scholarship program. Most of our 1,300+ members say they may have joined first for business reasons but remain connected to GSBA because of the sense of community the organization was founded on and is still known for today.
Q: Why does GSBA not include the word gay in the organization's name?
A: GSBA was founded in 1981, a very different era in the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality, when being completely open was much more challenging. Like many other LGBTQ+ organizations, GSBA strives for inclusiveness, and the term “gay” is not fully representative of our community. Sometimes it even remains challenging to fit everyone under the umbrella of “LGBTQ+ and allied.” For those reasons and more, the organization continues to use the original name it was founded under and the name that has more than 25 years of brand equity.
Q: Why do you use LGBTQ+, and not LGBT or other common acronyms?
A: Adding the “Q” and “+” or “queer” and “plus” to the “LGBT” is our way of showing our corporate, business, nonprofit members, our community, and our staff that we are an inclusive organization and welcome everyone who supports equality. This gives visibility and recognition to a large portion of our community that is often underserved and underrepresented and reclaims this historically derogatory term as a positive and more expansive way to identify.T he ‘plus’ is used to signify all of the gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the other five initials. An example is Two-Spirit, a pan-Indigenous American identity.
Q: What do Transgender and Gender Diverse mean?
A: At GSBA we recognize that language is always changing and does not always represent our entire community as a whole. We use the term ‘transgender and gender diverse’ to talk the vast Transfemme, Transmasc, Trans Women, Trans Men, Gender Variant, Transgender, Non-binary, Gender Queer, Two Spirit, Agender, Fa’afafine, Mahu, and other gender identities.
Q: Why is it important to use pronouns?
A: We use pronouns to talk about someone indirectly in a conversation. Words like (he/him/his), (she/her/hers), (them/them/their), (ze/zer/zir), etc. These words are usually in the place of a person’s name. Pronouns are important to ask and share, if comfortable, because it allows people to talk about others in an inclusive and affirming way.
| ‘Where is Alex?’
‘They are in the bathroom.’
|‘Who is wearing the red shirt?’
“Janet is. She works at GSBA.’
| ‘Who is Doug?’
‘He works on our scholarship team.’
GSBA Impact Reports
Standards of Ethics and Conduct
Please read in full. By joining GSBA, you agree to abide by our standards of ethics and conduct. The Board at all times retains discretion as to acceptance, non-renewal, or revocation of membership. The Board at all times retains discretion as to acceptance, non-renewal, or revocation of membership.
GSBA is a 501(c)(6) organization.
Tax ID 91-1171171.
The GSBA Scholarship Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Tax ID 94-3138514.
GSBA is a proud affiliate chamber of the NGLCC