The inaugural celebration week of queer-owned small businesses is currently underway.

According to a press release shared with AFROTECH, LGBTQ+ Business Week launched on Monday (Nov. 27) and will conclude on Sunday (Dec. 3).

The initiative includes a digital campaign that strives to support queer-owned businesses while simultaneously raising awareness around economic issues for the community.

“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, founder of media company Queerency.

Johnson is also responsible for the creation of LGBTQ+ Business Week and understands the need to carve out a more equitable future for his community.

“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,” he continued. “And with this summer’s disastrous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalizes marketplace discrimination against LGBTQ+ customers, there is a growing movement to bolster the queer economy.”

There are about 1.4 million entrepreneurs in the LGBTQ+ community, and they bring roughly $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce estimates. 

Unfortunately, however, those same queer-owned businesses are often targeted by harassment and violence that includes vandalized storefronts as well as venues and events.

What’s more, this is a first-of-its-kind event that upholds a commitment to LGBTQ+ business and innovation across the nation and on an international.

During the week, the festivities include not only partnering with hundreds of LGBTQ+ small business owners, creators, nonprofits, and advocates, but also a virtual summit spearheaded by Queerency.

Speakers for the virtual summit include Backstage Capital’s Arlan Hamilton and more.