Following complaints from a leading LGBT business group and two House Democrats, the U.S. Small Business Administration has restored to its website material dedicated to LGBT-owned small businesses.
The new webpage on the SBA website, titled “LGBT-owned businesses,” is found on the business guide section and says, “The SBA is proud to support the LGBT business community.”
The page also lists contact information for SBA’s LGBT small business team, provides information for certifying a business as LGBT-owned and lists six district offices — Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, LGBT Detroit, Mid America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Nuestra Familia LGBT Puerto Rico and Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce — with strategic alliances with the LGBT community.
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which called on the SBA to reinstate the LGBT page after it was deleted at the start of the Trump administration, hailed SBA Administrator Linda McMahon for the update in a statement from co-founders Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell:
“The NGLCC is pleased to see the SBA reinstate LGBT entrepreneurial resources on their website, just days after the congressional letter was sent and a conversation between Administrator McMahon and myself was held,” Nelson and Mitchell said. “Clearly she and the SBA recognize that LGBT business owners across the nation bring countless innovations, contribute over $1.7 trillion to the GDP, and create tens of thousands of jobs where they live. America’s LGBT entrepreneurs, and in fact very diverse community, should be given unfettered access to opportunities to succeed at every level of government and in every marketplace.”
The Washington Blade first reported in January 2017 the SBA deleted webpages dedicated to LGBT-owned small businesses. At the time, SBA officials said the information was removed as part of restructuring for the website at the start of the Trump administration, but the pages weren’t restored for more than a year.
The issue gained renewed attention earlier this month after two House Democrats — Reps. Yvette Clarke (N.Y.) and Rep. Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.) — sent a letter to McMahon asking questions about the continued omission of the LGBT content.
The removal of LGBT information for U.S. government websites, including the White House website, has been a trend during the Trump administration. Although the SBA has restored its LGBT material, other websites haven’t restored the LGBT-focused content in a meaningful way.