by Joe Woolley, CEO Nashville LGBT Chamber
Advocating, educating, and connecting our members and the LGBTQ+ and allied community, The Nashville LGBT Chamber advances common business interests, economic growth, and equality in the workplace and society for its LGBT members, businesses, and allies by providing educational, networking, and community building opportunities. As our community and the country reopens for business, we remain committed to supporting our members. We are here for YOU.
Please join us at any of our events, or subscribe to our newsletter for more information. We’re proud to showcase some of our work below. Special thanks to Focus for letting us highlight our work and our members!
Be a Member and Find our Members
We’ve proudly added many new businesses and individuals to our membership in 2021. A great way to support the LGBT+ community is to frequent chamber member businesses—just look for our OPEN and EQUAL membership sticker on windows and next to cash registers when you’re out shopping. A full list of members and certified LGBT- owned businesses can be found on our website directory.
In honor of this month’s issue, we are celebrating health, beauty, wellness, and fitness! It is impossible to highlight every deserving company, but here is a list of a few members from several different industries:
MELO GREEN BOTANICS
OLD HICKORY CROSSFIT
ORANGE THEORY FITNESS
RADIANT HEALTH INSTITUTE
RIVERSIDE VILLAGE CLINIC
SHAKTI POWER YOGA
If your business fits this category and you’re not listed, please consider JOINING OUR CHAMBER and taking advantage of membership perks. We want to help you promote and grow your business! If you’re interested in joining the Chamber, visit our website at NASHVILLELGBTCHAMBER.ORG to learn more about membership levels and benefits.
With over 15 Chamber-sponsored events, we celebrated Pride Month in a number of ways.
From educational opportunities to workouts, wine dinners to pride night soccer games, we celebrated all month and ended it with an awesome concert.
June arrived and with it, that greeting and statement of Happy Pride! With the world awash in rainbows for June, we should ask and ponder, what does Pride really mean?
The month is about teaching acceptance, educating pride history, and above all, love. Pride is about community and events that showcase inclusive places and partners. It’s about the rainbow and Pride flag. It’s about coming together and being kind to one another, something the LGBTQ+ community should work harder on, we are stronger together than we are divided. But Pride is about something more and it should be celebrated all year long, not just in June.
Think back to last year’s Pride in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown. With the nation focused on systemic racism and social injustice, we paused to focus on how to celebrate Pride at that moment, what Pride started as, and is all about. We are still so proud of the statement we made in regards to Standing Against Racism and then offering guidance on the conversation we were and needed to be having and on how to be a good ally. That work of representing the LGBTQ+ community in those larger conversations has been central to our work over the last year and will remain so. We represent and advocate for the marginalized of the marginalized, and BIPOC LGBTQ+ should know we are still committed to this work and stand together with them.
It was made very clear this year by the Tennessee Legislature and Governor, that LGBTQ+ people are still under attack. A record number of discriminatory anti-LGBT laws were passed, and more will be coming next year. The Nashville LGBT Chamber worked tirelessly during session to stop this discrimination, and while it is not the outcome we hoped for we should be proud of our work. Our trans siblings are the ones being targeted the most by this hatred and we must stand united against this discrimination. It is not ok to target one part of the LGBT community and expect the rest to remain silent. It is not ok to be for gay and lesbian rights but not trans rights. It’s only a matter of time before they come for the others. Pride is about standing united and educating our own community and the ally community on trans issues and working together to stop all forms of discrimination, and saying Trans Lives Matter.
Pride is also about support. We work with the business community in regards to LGBT support, but real support should be recognized and appreciated. Now I am going to get really real, and what I am saying is said with love and to make you think. With Pride month you will see brands flipping their logos to rainbow and marketing everything they have to you, the LGBT+ consumer. Ask yourself and those brands, “what do they do the rest of the year for the LGBT community?” Are they being genuine and intentional or just pandering?
Here are some great things to look for:
• What are they doing around advocacy? Are they on the front lines or just signing letters, putting out statements or staying silent?
• Do they say one thing in public and then support the opposition?
• Do they source LGBT-certified small businesses for their procurement?
• Do they have an active Employee Resource Group (ERG) program for their employees that allows them to bring their whole authentic self to work?
• Do they actively seek out diverse applicants?
• Do they realize that inclusion fosters diversity and if you don’t get inclusion right then you will never grow diversity?
• What do they financially support, both for LGBT issues and against?
• When they sell you the rainbow version of their product, do any of the proceeds go to support the LGBT community?
• Are they concerned about LGBT issues all year long or just during Pride Month?
2021 PRIDE IN BUSINESS AWARDS WRAP-UP
We held our annual Pride In Business Awards in June to honor members and the community for their work on advancing LGBT issues through the workplace and in society. The Awards were a hybrid event with 40 guests in person at Play bar and over 140 watching on Airmeet, a virtual events platform. The awards were also streamed live to the Chamber social media on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The LGBT Chambers Titanium Member, Dell Technologies was the presenting sponsor for the event, with HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health as a title sponsor for the 5th year in a row for this event. Award sponsors were Amazon, Comcast, MediCopy Services, Nashville Area Chamber, and Waller.
THE 2021 FINALIST AND WINNERS WERE:
Bass, Berry & Sims- Winner
Nashville International Airport
Small Business Diversity
D’Andrews Bakery & Cafe- Winner
Green Pea Salon
TN Event Designs
Entrepreneur of the Year
Sarah Ashley, TN Event Designs
Christopher Lester, Clifton + Leopold- Winner
Elliott Noble-Holt, MediCopy Services, Inc.
Business Leader of the Year
Hal Cato, Thistle Farms- Winner
Rich MacKinnon, Music City PrEP Clinic
Matthew Shaw, Dell Technologies
Donna Drehmann, Consultant- Winner
Dan Frailich, Dell Technologies
Beth-Ann Martorello, AllianceBernstein
Community Service Award
Rev. Dawn Bennett, The Table- Winner
Dakerri Rhone, HRC Nashville
Michael Reding, Nashville in Harmony
Leadership in the Arts Award
Nashville Children’s Theatre- Winner
Learn more about the Awards here.
To all our members, Happy Pride and we thank you for your work and your membership. If you’re not a member, please JOIN US and work on and show your Pride all year long. Finally, please join us for all of our EVENTS this month and celebrate Pride and the Chamber.