B Corps Collaborate to Support the LGBTQIA+ Community

June 28, 2023

Action-Oriented LGBTQIA+ Business Advocacy and Policy 

Supporting the LGBTQIA+ community is one component of building a stakeholder-driven economy that benefits all people and the planet, one of three pillars in B Lab U.S. & Canada’s Theory of Change. It’s also a priority policy issue across the United States, where the ACLU is tracking nearly 500 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills on issues including education, free speech, health care, and civil rights. In Canada, hate crimes against LGBTQIA+ community members are on the rise, while local schools and governments are seeing more requests to ban books with LGBTQIA+ content. 

Amid a rising tide of legal and social threats to LGBTQIA+ rights, Certified B Corporations in the U.S. and Canada are collaborating — as business leaders and individual allies — to develop supportive policies and programs and advocate for inclusion. Among their first steps: a recent online collaborative session, “Call to Action: Pride Is Protest,” organized by B Lab U.S. & Canada and the developing B Proud Network

“The B Corp community is well-positioned to make significant progress on LGBTQIA+ equality. Many B Corps already have established JEDI and political advocacy programs that include LGBTQIA+ issues,” said Tim Frick of B Corp Mightybytes, one of the B Proud Network organizers. “Plus, as a business community thousands of companies strong, there is significant power in our collective voice. With so many legislative actions being taken against the LGBTQIA+ community, now is the time for B Corps to come together and take a stand against this discrimination and bigotry.”

The session featured leaders from B Corps and partner organizations who explored how businesses can take action to effectively and meaningfully support and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community year-round. It included a look at the policy landscape from the ACLU. Breakout room discussions were held on going beyond “rainbow-washing” marketing efforts, adopting new business practices, and providing internal support for LGBTQIA+ workers. Other breakout rooms focused on building individual allyship and providing a LGBTQIA+ affinity space.

During the “Pride Is Protest” online discussion, ACLU Campaign Strategist Arli Christian said 19 states have banned gender-affirming health care for trans youth. The ACLU is challenging these bans in eight states, including an Arkansas case where a federal judge recently issued a ruling overturning the ban. “Judges are seeing these laws as harmful for youth and as shutting down free speech,” Christian said. 

Be a part of the B Proud Network: B Corp community members can register for the September launch event and help shape the new network by completing this information form.

Examples and Resources to Demand an Economy for All

This free downloadable resource shares how B Lab U.S. & Canada and the B Corp community are building a stakeholder economy and driving collective political action to make the rules of the game more equitable and beneficial for everyone.


5 Actions Businesses Can Take to Advocate for LGBTQIA+ Policy 

The discussion also included her colleague Danielle Silber, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the ACLU, who outlined five actions companies can take to advocate at the state and federal levels for inclusive policy:

  • Partner: Consider partnerships with regional groups such as B Locals (placed-based B Corp organizations) or state affiliates of the ACLU.
  • Convene: Determine your company’s convening power through its group memberships and ability to serve as a convenor or connector with like-minded businesses. This can include speaking up about LGBTQIA+ rights within business associations and chambers of commerce as a business concern such as how it relates to attracting and retaining workers, and how travel advisories or boycotts cause economic harm.
  • Amplify: Share messaging from community partners and civil rights groups to help customers and workers learn about civic engagement and voting opportunities.
  • Advocate: Speak up for policy that supports the LGBTQIA+ community through public statements, signing petitions, or reaching out directly to policymakers. This can be done as an individual business leader, business representative, as part of a collective such as a B Local organization, or in partnership with organizations like the ACLU.
  • Activate: Share information to help educate employees and external audiences on LGBTQIA+ issues and advocacy opportunities. One example is the current ACLU action to protect trans health care

“You don’t have to take action in each of these ways,” Silber said. “There are some that can best fit your business model.”

Tips to Nurture More Inclusive Workplaces for the LGBTQIA+ Community and All Workers

In Canada, the policy focus also is on protecting the rights of people in the LGBTQIA+ community. As Executive Director of Pride at Work Canada, Colin Druhan leads the nonprofit group’s work to empower Canadian employers to build workplaces that celebrate all employees regardless of gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation. In advance of Pride Month, he gained attention for his LinkedIn post with tips to help businesses advocate for LGBTQIA+ workers and avoid rainbow-washing

For the B Corp community and other businesses looking to support LGBTQIA+ workers, Druhan warned against starting with the typical inclusion-oriented training. Instead, he said, businesses can “focus on the needs of queer and trans people in your work environment, in your community. Deliver services and draft policies that help meet their specific needs. That work will reveal what training is required later on.”

Rather than focusing on support for a specific set of employees, Druhan said it’s more effective to consider what should be accessible to all workers. “Maybe it’s a safe place to use the bathroom, maybe it’s full use of group benefits, maybe it’s a workplace free of hate speech. It could be anything,” he said. “But it starts with asking queer and trans people what they feel is missing from their experience as an employee and taking it from there.”

When it comes to work-related travel to regions with anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation, Druhan said employers should let workers decide. “Everyone’s risk tolerance is different. If employees make the decision to embark on work travel to a jurisdiction that is potentially hostile, it’s important to arm them with as much information as possible about what to do if they face aggression or violence.”

Asking and listening also are effective ways to show up as allies for LGBTQIA+ colleagues. “Talk less and listen more,” he said. “If you’re talking, you’re not listening. If you’re not listening to queer and trans people, you’re not being an ally.”

Be a part of the B Proud Network: B Corp community members can register for the September launch event and help shape the new network by completing this information form.

  • B Corp Month

    Behind the B: Reasons Why Employees Appreciate Working at a B Corp

    Read More
  • stethoscope in doctor's office

    Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

    Providing Equitable Access to Reproductive Health Care

    Read More
  • Certified B Corporation logo

    Business Strategy

    The Future of Work Is Now: How Stakeholder Engagement Model Supports All Workers

    Read More
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

    Building an Inclusive Economy and Stronger B Corp Community

    Read More

Sign Up for our B The Change Newsletter

Read stories on the B Corp Movement and people using business as a force for good. The B The Change Newsletter is sent weekly on Fridays.