Metro Weekly

National LGBTQ business group NGLCC to rebrand and expand mission

National business group will make economic argument against passing anti-LGBTQ initiatives

NGLCC co-founders Chance Mitchell (left) and Justin Nelson (right) with Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez at NGLCC’s 2014 national gala – Photo: Shawn T. Moore, U.S. Department of Labor, via Wikimedia.

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is announcing it will change its name to NGLCC and be known as the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, as they seek to be more inclusive of bisexual, transgender, and other people within the larger LGBTQ community. The announcement was made by NGLCC co-founders Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell at the organization’s National Dinner awards gala, which marked its fifteenth anniversary.

“The expansion of our mission is tied to the expansion of the title. We’ve always served the full LGBT community, but now our name reflects that, and we continue on a journey to be as inclusive and as forward thinking as possible,” Jonathan Lovitz, NGLCC’s senior vice president, tells Metro Weekly.

“We’ve done phenomenal work for 15 years, making sure we touch every corner of America and continue to build more and more affiliate Chambers. Now, we’re really ramping up our global work. We’ve got nearly 15 affiliates on 5 continents, so we’re rapidly expanding the work at the intersection between economic empowerment and global LGBTI human rights,” he adds.

Under its new name, NGLCC will continue to advocate for the nearly 1.4 million LGBTQ-owned businesses in the United States. Lovitz notes that one year ago, NGLCC released its “America’s LGBT Economy” report, which found that LGBTQ-owned businesses boast a combined economic impact of over $1.7 trillion. 

NGLCC will also continue to speak out against legislation being pushed in various states that targets the LGBTQ community for discrimination, such as “bathroom bills” that seek to restrict which facilities transgender people can use.

“As we look at things like the Masterpiece Cakeshop discrimination case, the anti-transgender bills that continue to pop up, we will continue to assert the economic side of the argument, that hurting LGBT people hurts our economy,” Lovitz says. “And that’s something that, particularly, this administration, when it came to power claiming to be business experts, should understand: you cannot be pro-business and anti-LGBT at the same time, when we have the numbers to prove how powerfully we affect the economy.”

Asked how NGLCC would combat anti-LGBTQ initiatives that is being pushed in states like Texas or Montana, Lovitz explains that NGLCC plans to point out the economic losses that can result when states pass discriminatory legislation, with North Carolina serving as the chief example.

“As we look at the nearly 200 corporate partners that work with NGLCC, all of them have a commitment to fighting for diversity in their companies, in their supply chains, by working with us, and in the communities that they sell to or open offices in,” Lovitz says. “So we’ve got a pretty colorful coalition that’s serving that business case, and we’ll stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the social justice and political organizations that are asserting their argument as well. 

“The opportunities are right in front of us to be galvanizing the next crop of advocates, and I think a lot of them are going to come from the business sector, because they see that our economy functions at its best when they see that everyone is included and a welcome part of it,” he adds. “And in an economy as big as Texas, I think that’s going to speak volumes.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com