LGBTQ+ Business Week celebrates queer entrepreneurs

LGBTQ+ Business Week Gay entrepreneurs

Kevyn Lee-Wellington, the co-owner of Fluffy’s Sno-Balls in Long Beach, takes pride in his frozen treat from New Orleans. Fluffy’s Sno-Balls, an LGBTQ owned small business, has been named one of the best ice cream shops in the nation, according to Yelp. Photo: Caitlin Hernández for Q Voice News.

LGBTQ+ Business Week is a first-of-its-kind initiative to celebrate and support queer-owned small businesses in the U.S. and beyond.

It culminates Friday with a virtual summit featuring numerous entrepreneurs and influencers. Attendance is free, but requires an RSVP. The summit will be recorded and accessible on the LGBQ+ Business Week website.

Abbey West Hollywood sold to Tristan Schukraft

It’s estimated that approximately 1.4 million LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs are in the United States, and they generate over $1.7 trillion for the economy each year, according to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

But in recent months, queer-owned businesses have faced increased targeted harassment and violence —  from vandalized storefronts to threatened venues and events.

“LGBTQ+ small business owners are culture-shapers, space-makers, and job creators, but like our community at large, we often suffer from discrimination and bias,” said Travers Johnson, creator of LGBTQ+ Business Week and founder of LGBTQ business media company Queerency.

“From being denied COVID-relief loans at a higher rate than non-LGBTQ businesses to being victims of targeted abuse online

and in real life, queer-owned businesses need our support now more than ever. And with this summer’s disastrous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized marketplace discrimination against LGBTQ+ customers, there is a growing movement to bolster the queer economy,” he said.

Queerency partnered with hundreds of LGBTQ small businesses owners, creators, nonprofits, and advocates for business week.

Here are some of the virtual summit speakers:

  • Arlan Hamilton, venture catalyst and founder of Backstage Capital
  • Ruba, TikTok influencer
  • Spencer Hoddeson, founder of Gay Water
  • Tomás Matos, star of Hulu’s “Fire Island”
  • Charlie, founder of Everywhere is Queer
  • David Johns, Exec. Dir., National Black Justice Coalition
  • Adam Powell, co-founder of and the Rainbow Book Bus
  • Rey Reséndez, Two spirit activist and organizer
  • Nikeisah Newton, founder of Meals 4 Heels
  • Blossom C. Brown, activist and astrologer
  • Philip Johnson, founder of Philaye Films

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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