Middle Tennessee ’s gay and lesbian business community is booming. Attendance at the monthly NAPP meetings, Nashville ’s GLBT Chamber of Commerce, is at an all-time high. Organizers have just announced that Nashville will host its first ever GLBT business and life expo in November. Another indicator of how our community is growing, Tennessee is home to five GLBT newspapers, three of which are located in Nashville .
OutLoud Department has recently expanded and will soon add a community coffee shop. Red Restaurant at Tribe will soon be expanding. And, Bridgestone Firestone conducted a national model search here in Nashville for their diversity print campaign.
Middle Tennessee is fortunate to have some great leadership in the GLBT community to help make all this happen. The area is also fortunate to have some great employers who support diversity in the workplace and attract a wide range of individuals to the Middle Tennessee area.
Middle Tennessee ’s gay residents, whose typically higher incomes allow investments in pricey residential properties that yield significant local tax revenue, are certainly increasing. Our own market survey indicates that the GLBT household earns twice that as the average household in Tennessee .
There’s nothing new in the notion that diversity is good for business. Some of America ‘s best known corporations have long recognized that they need the best workers they can find, regardless of gender, race, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation.
We know that there is a distinct correlation between dynamic, creative cities that foster high levels of economic activity and how those cities treat their gay and lesbian communities. Typically entrepreneurs flourish in environments that are open-minded, intellectually curious and socially egalitarian. Gays and lesbians not only flourish—but like to live—in the same kinds of environments.
We’ve got a long way to go in establishing equal rights for the Tennessee GLBT community, but building a strong business foundation is a step in the right direction. Remember to keep supporting those businesses that support you.