Why have LGBT persons been removed?
When you go to the Small Business Administration website and type in the letters “LGBT” or any variation, you’ll get a search results page that shows “Sorry, we couldn't find anything matching that query.”
In other words, gays have been erased.
And two Democratic House members want to know why.
Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Yvette Clarke, New Yorkers who serve on the House Committee on Small Business, penned a letter this week to the SBA Administrator, Linda McMahon, that highlights the fact that web pages for business concerns of the queer community were removed after President Trump's January 2017 inauguration.
SBA officials told the committee's staff last August that the agency's website was under construction “with plans to activate the (LGBT) webpage in the near future,” wrote Velazquez and Clarke.
As of the time of this post, that has yet to happen.
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We took our National #smallbusinessweek bus tour to Columbia, SC yesterday for a visit to @forestlakefabrics. Owners Michael and Ginger Marsha were awarded the 2018 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Small Business Disaster Recovery after a monster storm flooded and destroyed their business in 2015. With a SBA disaster loan, they were able to rebuild a year later.
Their letter to McMahon continued (McHahon is in yellow jacket above):
“As you may know, the nation’s nearly 28 million small businesses, only 964 are certified LGBT Business Enterprises, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). Despite their low numbers, these firms contribute over $1.1 billion to the U.S. economy and realize an average of $2.5 million in revenue each year – almost triple that of other small firms.
“When considering all 1.4 million LGBT businesses, their offerings are even more staggering with nearly $2 trillion in economic contributions. While most start-ups generally close before their fourth year, the LGBT small entities have been in business an average of 12 years.
Data like this strongly suggests LGBT businesses are a critical segment of the nation’s small business community and a powerful force for the economy.”
“Other pages that were also under construction are already up and running,” their letter said. “This is deeply troubling and renews our concern that this page's removal may have been politically or ideologically motivated, rather than simply administrative.”
The letter concluded by asking why the removal has taken place and whether the erasure was directed by White House staffers, and if the SBA's previous outreach would be replaced with “useful information and resources to address the needs of LGBT small businesses.”
GPB would like to point out that in 2017 alone, the LGBT consumer buying power was over $917 billion. Our community is a vital part of the American economy, particularly in the small business space with over 1.4 million LGBT business owners.