LBGLCC Statement on OC Board of Supervisors Decision to Ban the Pride Flag
June 7, 2023
To the members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors:
Over the past several years, we have watched as rhetoric and violence directed at the LGBTQ+ community have increased at an alarming rate across our nation. Even as we write this letter, communities in Glendale and North Hollywood are reeling from outbreaks of violence surrounding messages of inclusion. According to the Human Rights Campaign, over 525 laws have been introduced to legislatures across the country since January, with many of them being signed into law just this past month. Those backing these proposals have made no secret about what they are hoping to accomplish through the passage of these bills and the pressure on government officials to deem the LGBTQ+ community as a threat. These bills aim to legislate LGBTQ+ people out of all aspects of daily life, by rolling back existing legal protections, reducing LGBTQ+ visibility, and attempts at reducing cultural and social acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.
A report conducted in 2015 by the National LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce reported that not only did the buying power of LGBTQ+ people reach a combined $917 Billion across the United States, but according to the report on certified LGBTQ+ Business Enterprises in America by the same organization, our projected contribution to the US economy exceeds $1.7 TRILLION. This contrasted with a study done by the WIlliams Institute at UCLA in 2017 that “stigma and discrimination can lead to economic instability and health disparities for individuals, which increase social safety net costs for the state, and impact the economy by reducing productivity and increasing health care costs.”
It is for this reason that we are writing this letter representing the Long Beach LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, to condemn the decision that was made to ban this flag from county properties, even during a month when many within the LGBTQ+ community look to its leadership to reassure them that the places where they live, work, and play are safe, and that their government is standing with them to provide those safe spaces. While our official identity and history are based out of Long Beach, we are seeing an increased interest from business owners throughout Orange County, and for that reason felt it necessary to address this issue, both as a neighboring city and also as a representative of our members who live, do business, and vote in Orange County.
We call on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to reconsider and repeal the county-wide decision to ban the Pride flag in all public spaces and appeal to your leadership to recognize that creating an inclusive County is in the best interest of its businesses and community members. Simply put, the decision made to ban the pride flag is a bad decision that affects everyone, LGBTQ+ or not.
Thank you for your time,
Eleanor Anne Dote (President) & the Board of Directors
Long Beach LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce
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