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

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!


Diana DePaola                                                    Fred Palmer
President                                                             Executive Director

Community Resources

Gender Health Center

Sacramento LGBT Community Center/QSpot

Sutter Gender Identity Support Group

River City Gems

UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center

PFLAG Greater Placer County


Rainbow Chamber Denounces Trump Administration Roll-back of Transgender Student Protections

Roll-back of Guidelines Guaranteeing Access to Gender-Appropriate Facilities Violates Civil Rights of Transgender Youth

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 actions of the Trump administration revoking guidelines protecting transgender students:

“The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes the recent actions taken by President Donald Trump and his administration to overturn guidelines issued in 2016 guaranteeing all students access to gender-segregated facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms in federally funded schools.

“Growing up is hard enough for any child. Transgender children, faced with the added challenge of living in bodies that do not match their gender identities, are particularly vulnerable to bullying, discrimination, depression and suicide. Yet, with support from the institutions and the adults in their lives, we know that these courageous young people can succeed in school and become healthy, productive members of our communities and our workforce.

“No person, adult or child, should be singled out to use a separate facility or forced to seek special permission simply to use a restroom or shower facility where he or she feels safe. Protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender should not be left to the discretion of state officials, just as protection from discrimination based on religious affiliation or ethnicity is not applied on a state-by-state basis.

“As many of America’s largest corporations continue to affirm, prejudice and discrimination against any group of people is harmful for families and bad for economic growth. The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, which represents LGBT business owners and their allies in a six-county region, urges the Trump administration to reconsider its action and to reinstate the 2016 guidelines advising federally funded schools to ensure the safety, dignity and equal rights of all students in using gender-segregated facilities.”

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


Sacramento Gay Chamber Announces Hiring of Group’s First Executive Director

Community Organizer Nikki Whitfield Is New Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Nikki-Whitfield-2013July 23, SACRAMENTO— The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce has hired local community organizer Nicole Whitfield, former community outreach coordinator for HIV/AIDS healthcare provider CARES, as its new executive director. Whitfield is the 12-year-old chamber’s first executive director.

“We’re tremendously proud to welcome Nikki Whitfield onboard,” said Chamber President Dr. Darrick Lawson. “With only a volunteer board of directors and part-time staff, the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce has made enormous strides as a community leader and advocate for small and LGBT-owned businesses in the Sacramento region. The organization has reached a crossroads, when it will either grow or stay stagnant. The board and I are confident in Nikki’s ability to lead our growth and increase the value of chamber membership, and we are all so thrilled to be part of this exciting new chapter in the history of our chamber.”

Whitfield served from June 2008 to present as community mobilization coordinator for CARES (Center for AIDS Research Education & Services), where she helped build relationships with the African American community, area churches, health care providers and community-based organizations. Whitfield is an HIV University Fellow of the Black AIDS Institute (AAHU); and recipient of the 2013 Sacramento Kings All Star Community Service Award and of the 2009 Exceptional Woman Of Color Award. She serves on Mayor Kevin Johnson’s “Indivizible” African American leadership forum; Sen. Darrell Steinberg’s African American Advisory Committee; and Mental Health America’s LGBTQ Youth Collaborative.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce at such an exciting time in the history of the LGBT community,” Whitfield said. “Over the past two years, the Chamber has helped pass state legislation supporting LGBT-owned businesses, participated in the successful effort to create a unified central city council district, launched a non-partisan, business-friendly Political Action Committee, and received a Chamber Excellence Award from the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. As a full-time executive director, I’ll have the time and focus to continue building our membership base and increase our outreach to government and corporate partners. I’m ready to go to work!”

In one of her first acts as executive director, Whitfield will travel to Dallas for the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce National Business & Leadership Conference July 30 through August 2, where she will meet with leaders of LGBT chambers from throughout the United States. California itself is home to six LGBT chambers of commerce, in the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego and Sacramento.

Established in 2001, the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce serves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender business owners and professionals and allies in the Greater Sacramento region. The Chamber works to build a prosperous and inclusive business community and to support issues that promote business development and equal rights for all people.  The Chamber and its non-profit affiliate, the Rainbow Chamber Foundation, have contributed more than $40,000 to charitable causes, including youth scholarships and programs for at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. For more information, visit

RCC Members May Apply to Host Paid Intern

Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce members are invited to apply for placement of an intern in your business, with a $1,000 stipend paid by the Rainbow Chamber Foundation.

The Rainbow Chamber Foundation recently launched its first Internship Award program to provide motivate and assist qualified LGBT or supportive students with work experience and training. In order to qualify, intern applicants must be able to complete a six-week internship located in the Sacramento region within 12 months of receiving the award. A completed application form and supporting materials must be submitted by August 1. The intern award winner will be selected by the Chamber’s Scholarship/Internship Selection Committee. The Foundation will provide a stipend of at least $1,000 to the intern award winner. The winner will be notified in writing no later than Sept. 5. For more information about the internship, visit

RCC member companies who would like to host a paid intern must also submit a completed application online by end of day August 1. The winning intern will be matched with a qualifying RCC member business based on the intern’s interest and field of study. For more information about hosting a paid Rainbow Chamber Foundation inter, visit

Applications also are being accepted for the Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholarship awards. Four $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to qualified LGBT or supportive students. In order to qualify, scholarship applicants must be enrolled in the 12th grade of high school or in a university or college, or a qualified vocational school, or intend to be so enrolled in September 2013, and must have a minimum 2.9 cumulative grade point average. Deadline to apply is August 1, and winners will be notified in writing no later than Sept. 5. To learn more about the Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholarship, please visit

Nominations Close July 16 for RCC Board!

It’s not too late to become a candidate for the Rainbow Chamber Board of Directors—but time is running out! Five of the nine RCC board seats are open for election in August. Each new board member will be elected to a two-year term. New board officers—president, vice president, secretary and treasurer—will be appointed by the newly elected board at the September board meeting.


All candidates for the Chamber board must be an RCC member in good standing and must be nominated by another RCC member in good standing. The easiest way to nominate someone is to fill out the online Nomination Form at Once nominated, each candidate must fill out and submit a Board Application Form, available at Nomination Committee Chair Brian McMartin has asked that all nominees submit their forms by end of day TODAY, Friday, July 12. The list of nominees will be submitted to the membership at the RCC July Mixer on Tuesday, July 16, at Hair Play Salon. Additional nominations may be made by members from the floor at this time. Nominations will close that evening, July 16.

A Candidate Meet & Greet is scheduled for Tuesday, August 6, from 6 to 7 p.m., at UC Davis Extension, 2901 K Street in Sacramento. Candidates will be invited to make a 3-minute presentation about their qualifications and their goals for RCC over the coming two-year term.

Electronic voting will begin one week prior to the RCC August Mixer on August 20. Each voting member in good standing will receive an e-mail containing log-in information in order to vote. Only one designated voting member is allowed for each member business. In-person voting also will be available at the RCC August Mixer on Tuesday, August 20. Winning candidates will be announced that night.

For more information about nominations or board elections, call the RCC office at 916-266-9630 or e-mail Sara Freid,