Transgender Rights Under Attack: Vote Nov. 6!

Transgender Rights Under Attack: Vote Nov. 6!

In just the past couple of weeks, our nation has been rocked to its moral core by several incidents of violence and terrorism: the hate-inspired shooting of two African American people shopping at their local grocer; the mailing of pipe bombs to two former presidents, the Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros, CNN and several other high-profile critics of President Trump’s policies; and, most recently, the tragic murder of 11 members of a Pittsburgh synagogue as the gunman shouted that he wanted to “kill all Jews.”

Just days before this latest string of brutal attacks, the Trump administration reported plans to redefine gender in a way that would effectively render transgender and gender non-binary individuals invisible. While LGBT people have made tremendous advances over the past few decades toward achieving societal acceptance and equal treatment under the law, equal rights for the transgender/gender non-binary community have lagged behind. Since 2016 the Trump administration has zeroed in on this vulnerable population, first threatening to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military; most recently, by limiting the definition of gender to that documented on birth certificates, threatening to erase their very existence.

On behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors, we rebuke this effort by the Trump administration to deny the existence of transgender individuals in the strongest possible terms. We are honored to represent transgender business owners and individuals in our membership, and we are so proud of our LGBTQIA Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholars, including several who identify as transgender or gender non-binary.

To those members and leaders, and to the greater transgender community, we stand with you, and we will do everything in our power to prevent the implementation of this inhumane and unjust policy.

To our LGBTQIA youth, please know that these actions taken against you or other members of our community by the current administration are wrong. They are not right or normal or moral or justified. They are not even logical. As terrible as it feels to be attacked in this way by elected officials at the highest levels, please know that most people in this country know it is wrong. We are not going to lie down, and we will not allow them to erase you.

As a Chamber of Commerce, one of our core missions is to support small business owners and to promote leadership and policies that foster small business success and economic prosperity. As an organization of LGBT and allied business owners and professionals, our core mission is to advocate for and defend diversity, inclusion and equal rights for all.

History teaches us that tyrants test their limits on the smallest and weakest populations first, before turning to larger, more challenging targets. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

All of the above acts are attacks against American citizens and residents of our country; against freedom of religion; and against our cherished American ideals of democracy, equality and inclusion.

We know that equality–the assurance that all individuals and families have the same rights and are equally protected by the rule of law–is good for society and good for business.

Our colleagues at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) may have said it best:

The NGLCC and our partners will continue to assert that any attempt to diminish or erase transgender or gender non-binary Americans is both morally reprehensible and economically ruinous for the United States. Gender identity is distinct from biological sex, and neither is a binary to be legislated by the current administration, which has repeatedly demonstrated a desire to turn back the clock on LGBTQ progress. A proposed national policy to limit Americans’ gender identity is not only a repudiation of several major court decisions upholding LGBTQ protections under Title IX, but it also contradicts widely respected and reported scientific and economic evidence.  According to NGLCC’s America’s LGBT Economy Report, which has been referenced and acknowledged by countless public and private policy experts,  LGBT business owners across the nation bring countless innovations, contribute over $1.7 trillion to the economy, and create tens of thousands of jobs in their communities. Transgender and gender non-binary business owners across our country make up an important piece of these contributions, and their contributions make all of us stronger: they build our roads, improve our schools, and defend our nation. America’s transgender and gender non-binary entrepreneurs add too richly to the social and economic success of our country to be erased by their government.

To our LGB and allied community, we ask that you join us in solidarity with transgender and gender non-binary people against this and similar bigoted and short-sighted policies. One way to make your voice heard: Vote.

Early voting in Sacramento and surrounding counties is underway now. If you have not mailed your ballot, you can find the location and hours of voting centers, ballot drop-off locations and polls on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, as well as the status of your vote-by-mail or early ballot, at https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/.

If you have already cast your ballot, thank you for fulfilling your civic duty. For those who have yet to vote, we know how hectic life can be for small business owners, working professionals and students. We understand that taking the time to get your ballot in on time might seem like just one task too many in a busy day or week. We are asking you, in this critically important midterm election, to make sure your voice is heard: Please vote! Many races this year will be decided by a mere handful of votes, and every vote really does count. Our future depends upon it.

Thank you!

#WeWontBeErased

Diana DePaola                                                    Fred Palmer
President                                                             Executive Director

Community Resources

Gender Health Center
http://www.thegenderhealthcenter.org/

Sacramento LGBT Community Center/QSpot
https://saccenter.org/

Sutter Gender Identity Support Group
http://www.sacgender.org/health-resources/medical-doctors

River City Gems
https://rivercitygems.org/

UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center
https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/support/trans-resources

PFLAG Greater Placer County
http://www.pflagplacercounty.org/links-resources/transgender-resources

 

Narrow Supreme Court Wedding Cake Ruling Upholds Nondiscrimination Principles

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled issued its decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, ruling 7-2 in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

As an organization committed to building an inclusive and equal business environment that empowers all communities to prosper and thrive, we are discouraged by a decision that allows any person to be refused service based on whom he or she loves. The unspoken message to LGBT consumers: If you are open and honest about who you are, you may be confronted and turned away. The decision is a small but disheartening step backward on our path to full equality for all.

But, while the Court’s decision is deeply disappointing, its ruling is specific to this case only, based on a concern that members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission may have evidenced an anti-religion bias. The Supreme Court upheld the principle that a public business must serve all members of the public, without discrimination. As Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said, ‘The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people.’

We know other opponents of LGBT equality already are lined up to test that principle before the Supreme Court, and this case is no doubt the first of many to come. In California, the Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits public businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation, as well as race, gender or religion. But earlier this year, the Kern County Superior Court ruled in favor of a Bakersfield bakery owner who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In the Bakersfield case, the judge said the baker’s First Amendment rights to free speech superseded the state law against discrimination, but only because the baker was being asked to create a product that violated her beliefs. In clarifying his decision, Judge David Lampe wrote:

A retail tire shop may not refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same sex couples. There is nothing sacred or expressive about a tire. No artist, having placed their work for public sale, may refuse to sell for an unlawful discriminatory purpose. No baker may place their wares in a public display case, open their shop, and then refuse to sell because of race, religion, gender, or gender identification.

While we expect to see lots more cases challenging the equal rights of LGBT people, we continue to believe, to paraphrase the late Dr. Martin Luther King, that the ‘arc of the moral universe’ still ‘bends toward justice.’ We know others will use this recent Supreme Court decision to attempt to justify different forms of discrimination against LGBT people, at other kinds businesses and public venues, but we also know that equality is good for business and good for communities. The collective spending power of LGBT people worldwide is estimated at $3.7 trillion, approximately $900 billion within the U.S. alone. Communities and economies thrive when all individuals and families are protected equally under the law, and the Chamber remains committed to working toward a future in which fairness and equality prevail.

What can you do?

  • VOTE! Today (June 5, 2018) is Election Day, and your vote is critically important to the future of our region, state and country! Please vote or drop off your ballot today. Check here for information about voting and ballot drop-off locations: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/polling-place/

 

  • Report discrimination. If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or other factors, the California Attorney General’s office offers a list of resources and responding agencies.

 

  • Participate with RainbowPAC. Rainbow Chamber’s non-partisan political action committee endorses candidates and supports public policy measures that mirror our business-positive values of diversity, inclusion and equality. Visit here for a list of local candidates endorsed by RainbowPAC in 2018.

 

  • Participate in Sacramento Pride! Presented by the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, Sacramento Pride events are scheduled all weekend, beginning with the annual Pride Awards Friday, June 8, honoring Rainbow Chamber Past President Richard Hernandez. Learn more about the history and achievements of the LGBT civil rights movement and next steps at Pride Activated on Saturday, June 9, at Mango’s in Midtown. Then join Rainbow Chamber at the Sacramento Pride Parade/March and Festival on Sunday, June 10, at Capitol Mall.

We are grateful for all the work our member businesses, professionals and allies do every day to make our region and business community better. Thank you!

 

WBA LGBT Economic Summit comes to Northern California

WBA LGBT Economic Summit comes to Northern California

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a long-standing member of the Western Business Alliance(WBA), a coalition of LGBT and allied business chambers.  With the WBA and neighboring LGBT Chamber the Golden Gate Business Association, we are honored to be holding the second annual LGBT Economic Summit on March 16, 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The summit will address the economic factors and policy agendas that affect LGBT and allied businesses and communities in the western U.S. and Canada.

The full-day summit, including breakout sessions an “Power Lunch” will explore topics such as: needs of millennial LGBT entrepreneurs, LGBT homeless issues/solutions from a regional perspective, creating new LGBT entrepreneurs via ‘disruptive technologies’, removing barriers to Transgender economic development,  accessing capital for LGBT businesses, and expanding LGBT participation in government/business contracting.

Through keynote presentations and panel discussions, attendees will share information, provide critical input to regional challenges, and build relationships with other LGBT and allied business leaders from 20 chambers throughout North America.
The Board of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is actively participating in this event and its planning efforts. We encourage any/all interested parties to join this historic, and meaningful, event. It is sure to spark a new level of momentum in the LGBT economic equality movement.

SUMMIT AGENDA

MARCH 15, 2018 6:00pm—8:00pm: VIP GALA RECEPTION
SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL ROTUNDA

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018 8:30am – 5:30pm BREAK-OUT SESSIONS AND POWER LUNCH IV
HYATT REGENCY SAN FRANCISCO

CLOSING RECEPTION
TRANSAMERICA PYRAMID – 44th FLOOR

 $125 Full day (includes Power Lunch, Break-outs and both receptions)
REGISTER HERE

 ABOUT THE WESTERN BUSINESS ALLIANCE

The Western Business Alliance, formed in 1994, is a coalition of LGBT and allied chambers of commerce located in 21 cities and 11 states in the western United States and Canada. WBA chambers are committed to expanding economic opportunities for the LGBT and allied community by promoting equality through business. Through cooperation and sharing best practices, our chambers are integral to the economic health of our region and proudly connect the more than 4000 businesses we represent located throughout the western U.S. and Canada.
THE WBA CHAMBERS INCLUDE:
Sacramento Rainbow Chamber (Sacramento, CA)
Rainbow Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale, CA)
Portland Area Business Association (Portland, OR)
LOUD Business of Vancouver BC (Vancouver, BC)
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (Los Angeles, CA)
Long Beach Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (Long Beach, CA)
Lambda Business Association (Las Vegas, NV)
Inland Northwest Business Alliance (Spokane, WA)
Greater Seattle Business Association (Seattle, WA)
Golden Gate Business Association (San Francisco, CA)
Desert Business Association (Palm Springs, CA)
North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce (Dallas, TX)
Greater San Diego Business Association

ABOUT OUR HOSTS AT THE GOLDEN GATE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

Founded in 1974 as the world’s first LGBT chamber of commerce, the GGBA holds a special place in the history of the ever-changing economic landscape on the local, national and international levels.  GGBA uses its affiliation with many organizations to build recognition for today’s vibrant LGBT business community and to foster the growth of similar organizations throughout the world

Rainbow Chamber Denounces Racist Violence and Hate Acts

Rainbow Chamber Denounces Racist Violence and Hate Acts

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce President Richard Hernandez has released the following statement on behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors in regard to the recent violence and racist demonstrations that have stricken the Charlottesville, Virginia, community:

“We condemn the hateful and racist demonstrations and the resulting violence and loss of life that have befallen the city of Charlottesville, and we call upon all elected officials who purport to serve our country to join us in unqualified condemnation of any group that espouses hate against others. As an organization serving LGBTQ business owners and professionals, we serve and celebrate individuals of every race, ethnicity, religious heritage, gender identity and country of birth. We stand with our fellow diversity chambers, which have been our long-time partners in the effort to create a diverse, inclusive and prosperous business community. We stand with the majority of Americans, who oppose bigotry and discrimination, and who understand that diversity, inclusion and equality are the path to peace and prosperity for our society. Discrimination and prejudice against any of us are discrimination and prejudice against all of us.”

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is a regional chamber serving LGBT business owners and professionals across the Sacramento Valley, as well as straight allies who support its mission of fostering a prosperous, diverse and inclusive business climate. For more information about the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, visit www.rainbowchamber.com.

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Denounces Trump Ban on Transgender People in Military

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Denounces Trump Ban on Transgender People in Military

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce President Richard Hernandez has released the following statement on behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors in regard to President Donald Trump’s action to deny transgender people the right to serve in the U.S. military:

“Today the President of the United States revoked the right of transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military—a hard-fought right won only a year ago. The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce rebukes the President’s actions in the strongest possible terms and calls upon our fellow Americans to take a stand for the full equality and inclusion of transgender people, and for all human beings, regardless of their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation. All of us are human beings.

“Transgender Americans live, work, volunteer and serve alongside us every day, including a few thousand currently serving in the U.S. military. The President’s action to strip them of the right to serve their country simply because of the way they were born is inhumane and wrong. Which community will be next to lose its equal rights?

“The Rainbow Chamber remains committed to defending the equal rights of our transgender neighbors and friends, and to working with our community and corporate allies to resist the intolerant and discriminatory actions of the current administration toward transgender people.”

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is a regional chamber serving LGBT business owners and professionals across the Sacramento Valley, as well as straight allies who support its mission of fostering a prosperous, diverse and inclusive business climate. For more information about the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, visit www.rainbowchamber.com.

Rainbow Chamber Applauds Federal Court Ruling Protecting LGBT Employees

Richard A Hernandez, Rainbow Chamber PresidentSacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce President Richard Hernandez has released the following statement on behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors in regard to the April 4 ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBT employees from workplace discrimination:

“Yesterday’s historic federal court decision confirms for the first time that the Civil Rights Act, in prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin or sex, also extends to discrimination based on sexual orientation—the only logical interpretation of the law’s intention,” Hernandez said. “Since one branch of our government, Congress, has refused for years to extend standard workplace protections to LGBTQ people, it is appropriate that our judicial branch act to ensure all U.S. residents have the right to work without fear of being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Equality under the law allows LGBT parents and heads of households to provide for their families, contribute to their communities, and pay taxes. We applaud the court’s decision and fully expect the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold this wise and fair ruling.”

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is a regional chamber serving LGBT business owners and professionals across the Sacramento Valley, as well as straight allies who support its mission of fostering a prosperous, diverse and inclusive business climate. For more information about the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, visit www.rainbowchamber.com.