In the early days of my life as a queer entrepreneur, I agonized about how out I should be in my business. I worried that if I came out to my audience, I would lose customers and revenue.
Finally deciding to be open about my sexuality, I sent a newsletter to my email list mentioning my wife. In the next few days, I had a record number of unsubscribes.
This experience showed me that the discrimination of queer business owners, and the denial of this discrimination, are still very real.
Yet, despite these numbers, LGBTQIA+ businesses, especially those who don’t identify as male, still face discrimination when obtaining funding and securing customers. A 2016 study by StartOut found that LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs that don’t identify as male raise less capital than their male counterparts and generate less revenue.
“It’s important to be open about our identities in professional settings. Our identities are assets to our clients, investors, and professional partnerships. We bring a unique perspective of historical and personal marginalization that can shape how we market our products and services and can reach certain target audiences through our queer networks.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to your community. Even if it doesn’t have to do with your industry, it never hurts to introduce yourself. I’ve built a network of referrals just by introducing myself to others.”
This article discusses how queer owned businesses can pursue their business plans even though they face discrimination. Businesses can lose customers after it’s owner comes out. This article highlights the importance of the LGBTQ+ community to support each other in life and to uplift one another. The hardships that queer business owners face isn’t widely accepted and non-queer businesses blame it on the business model, not homophobic customers. So as queer people are struggling in business pursuits, the existence of the struggle isn’t even accepted by non-queer businesses that hold the power in the business world. It is hard to break into a world of finances when it is competitive and other business feel that they shrink their selves by helping others.