As a lesbian, I'm able to speak pretty accurately about this. Just sayin'.
Once, Shelia and I wanted to go horseback riding, so we thought let's reach out to some local places. Immediately, I got a pit in my stomach. Perhaps it was wrong of me, but I thought...well, they're probably republicans that aren't going to feel comfortable with a lesbian couple.
I picked up the phone and asked. The woman didn't sound thrilled but she didn't say we weren't welcome.
Another time, our tax guy explained how he goes home to Egypt all the time, and that we should definitely come to visit. I picked up my phone, googled about homosexuality in Egypt, and said, it's on a list of the 20 most dangerous places for a gay person.
Hiring wedding vendors felt even more uncomfortable. Would this vendor even want to do my wedding? How do I ask them? Gosh, this is icky.
The moral of the story, even though you may not think about how often gay people have to "check" if someone is gay friendly, doesn't mean it doesn't happen; even in California.
So, how do you create an LGBTQ+ welcoming vibe for your business?
Refrain from religious posts and decor
Churches and religious institutions have had a longstanding negative history with the LGBTQ+ community. So when you show support for an institution that has continuously told the LGBTQ community that they were sinners, going to hell, or that you don't believe in their "lifestyle" we automatically feel uncomfortable.
Now, you're entitled to your beliefs, and I wouldn't ever want to shame anyone for that. Even though those institutions have been shitty to the gay community doesn't mean you are.
However, you have a bigger challenge creating a welcoming vibe than another business.
So if you want to show your love for everyone, you'll need to post LGBTQ+ content and have a rainbow sticker on the window. Something, anything to show you aren't aligned with the stigma that churches have created for the LGBTQ+ community.
Post inclusive photos and content
The best way to show the community you're a safe and welcoming space is to post people that look like them! When I see a photographer that posts weddings with two gay women, I instantly feel a sense of security and comfortability when booking them.
If someone only posted photos of straight couples and never had one post mentioning a person from the LGBTQ community, I wouldn't think poorly of them, but I sure as heck wouldn't get excited thinking I found a great service/vendor that was safe and accepting!
What you post on your social media helps us "check if this place is accepting" without picking up the phone and having an awkward conversation.
This one is always a point of controversy for some people but, it's important.
Create sign-up forms, signage, or website copy that includes terms like "happy couple", "partner", or try out "human"!
It is intimidating to fill out a form that says "husband and wife" when you're two wives!
Ditching those terms is a small thing for your business, but it speaks volumes to the LGBTQ+ community.
Most people that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community have no problem answering any question you might have. Often, it's an exciting opportunity for us to shed light.
If you are wondering how you should handle something, if certain art is ok, or just don't know what verbiage to use, ask.
We're just humans that want to feel accepted, not tolerated. So if a person wants to understand how to make us feel accepted it just makes us excited.
Alright, alright. I normally keep these blogs simple 2-minute reads, because we're a culture of scrolling so I'm signing off. If we can help you in any way show your support for the LGBTQ+ community reach out! No question is too absurd, we're odd girls with dark senses of humor. Seriously.