Advocacy



Advocacy is one of the four pillars of GSBA in our mission to combine business development, leadership, and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT community and those who support equality for all. Founded with a social justice mission,GSBA is proud to be an avowedly progressive business organization. Representing the voice of our community, of our businesses, and of our nonprofits is critical. It is the membership that drives our policy work - each of our civic engagement events is organized by and for our members. 

GSBA priorities during the 2018 legislative session


Banning conversion therapy (SB 5722) - Would protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors against exposure to serious harms caused by conversion therapy. Performing conversion therapy would be considered unprofessional conduct for any licensed health care provider and subject them to losing their license. Learn more.

Preventing harassment and bullying of transgender students (SB 5766) - Expands the existing law prohibiting the harassment, intimidation, and bullying of any student to specifically include transgender students. Learn more.

Require long-term care providers to be trained on LGBTQ issues (SB 5700) - Requires long-term care workers to include LGBTQ cultural competency as part of their continuing education program.

Update the Uniform Parentage Act (SB 6037) - Strengthens protections for LGBTQ parents and non-biological parents. Would allow for compensated surrogacy while protecting health, wellbeing, and autonomy of women acting as surrogates.

Support the Equal Pay Act (HB 1506) - Would protect workers from practices that perpetuate inequality. Allows workers to discuss and inquire about pay without retaliation. Requires pay to be based on bona fide job-related criteria. Learn more.

Create a statewide tourism marketing fund (SHB 1123, SSB 5251) - Create a marketing plan and campaign focusing on bringing more tourists to WA, managed by a nonprofit entity representing the geographic and cultural diversity of the state. WA is the only state in the country without a tourism board, and the significant economic opportunities brought by tourism will be a boon to small businesses.

Other priorities - GSBA is very active during session and is supporting many other efforts such as the Voting Rights Act, net neutrality, creating uniform statewide business regulations, and more.
Find our who are your elected officials and register to vote or update your registration at MyVote (part of the Washington Secretary of State's office).

Public Policy Task Force


Are you interested in LGBT and/or small business policy issues? GSBA's monthly Public Policy Task Force comes together to discuss issues of importance to the LGBT and small business communities. We often bring in elected officials, advocates, and other policymakers to present to our members.

PPTF meets on the third Monday of every month, except where otherwise noted.

Attendance FREE and is open to all GSBA members

Please contact Matt Landers, GSBA Public Policy and Communications Manager for more information.



GSBA Blog: Advocacy Posts


Member Candidate: Ryan Calkins for Port Commission

by Ryan Calkins
| Jul 21, 2017

GSBA has several members on the ballot this year. GSBA does not endorse candidates for elected office, but we are pleased to offer them a chance to speak to their fellow members.

Ryan CalkinsWith just two weeks remaining before the August primary election, most people are busy with summer activities and don't have much time to consider local races. In particular, the Port of Seattle Commission races--three of the five seats are up this cycle--rank low on voters' priority list. I want to make a case for why the Port races deserve your attention. The Commission plays a critical role in Seattle's economy both in terms of the direct impact of nearly $1 billion dollars in annual revenue, and also in terms of the indirect benefits of a vibrant airport, healthy seaport, and booming tourism industry.
 
The Port is at an important crossroads. With the departure of its CEO earlier this year, the search is on for a new executive. And the incoming Port Commission has a responsibility to ensure that problems of the past (ethical transgressions, wrongful termination lawsuits, opaque contracting decisions) do not continue under new leadership. The Port of Seattle is a public agency, which requires a higher level of transparency and ethical standards than private enterprise.
 
At a time when the federal government is going backward on accessibility and inclusion, it's even more important for the Port of Seattle to be a safe and inclusive space. SeaTac airport is our region's front porch, and people of every race, nationality, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation must feel welcomed. As the regional nexus of immigration, SeaTac should be a sanctuary for immigrants and refugees, rather than one more obstacle to safety for those fleeing persecution, war, and famine. 
 
Finally, the Port of Seattle should be a key driver of small business development in the Greater Seattle area. With hundreds of retail opportunities, ongoing large-scale construction projects, and resources to support the training of the next generation of business leaders, the Port of Seattle has an obligation to ensure that the LGBTQ community has at least proportional representation in contracting and hiring. As a small business owner in the Georgetown neighborhood, I understand the challenges of securing work with large government agencies. The Port needs to expand its efforts to make sure that contracts are awarded to local small businesses, not just large, out-of-state conglomerates. 
 
As the recipient of more than $70 million dollars in property tax funds each year, the Port needs ethical and experienced leadership. During this election cycle, we have the opportunity to elect a commission with the integrity and background to carry the Port into the next generation. 
 
Ryan Calkins is a small business owner, GSBA member, and candidate for Position 1 of the Port of Seattle Commission. Learn more at www.ryanforport.com.