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


Trump Administration Assault on Transgender People & LGBT Workplace Protections

by Louise Chernin, President & CEO
| Jul 26, 2017

Reversing an open and inclusive policy long-supported by top military leaders, Donald Trump announced this morning that transgender Americans will not be allowed to serve in any capacity in the military. Additionally, Trump’s Department of Justice is set to argue in favor of employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

As an LGBT chamber of commerce representing over 1,300 businesses and their thousands of employees, GSBA knows that transgender employees are not a burden on the workplace. Concerns of a cost burden on an employer due to a transgender employee have never been born out, and there is no reason to believe that the United States military would be any different. The Department of Defense’s own study from 2016 states that allowing transgender people to serve openly would “cost little and have no significant impact on unit readiness.” Once again, all of the President’s assertions fly in the face of established fact.

This is bigotry, pure and simple. It’s not about costs or disruption, it’s about erasing the lives and contributions of transgender people. As stated by Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Trans Equality, “This is an appalling attack on our service members; it is about bigotry rather than military readiness, reason or science. It is indefensible and cannot stand. The President wants to discard thousands of trained and skilled troops who are already serving honorably and have done nothing but be honest about who they are. To turn away qualified recruits simply because of who they are is a shameful way to show our country’s gratitude to the people who serve our country.”

This change in policy does not erase the fact that transgender people exist and serve in our military and in businesses across the country.

Our community is under increasingly fierce attacks at the national level. Contact your members of Congress. Now is the time to get involved. Washington State is home to many outstanding organizations that provide advocacy, programming, and support services for our transgender community. Your donations and volunteer engagement is more important than ever.

For equality,

Louise Chernin
GSBA President & CEO