Hosting an economic summit at the Menger Hotel marked a first in the four-year existence of the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
“Just like any minority chamber, we’re trying to create opportunities for our members not available normally due to discrimination,” said Chad Nall, the group’s president and a local real estate broker.
He said its 100-plus members are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender -- as well as business and corporate allies from the straight community.
“We’re trying to be accepted and run our businesses without any prejudice,” Nall said.
Nall said the LGBT community is usually seen as the face of social justice issues, yet it is striving to make its mark in the business world as well.
Justin Nelson, co-founder and president of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, said LGBT consumer spending alone in the U.S. is estimated to be $800 billion annually -- $4 billion in San Antonio.
But Nelson said the economic impact doesn’t end there.
“We’re also business owners. We also employ people. I call them the 'ma and ma' and 'pa and pa' shops,” Nelson said.
Also attending the economic summit were representatives of the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Bexar County Economic Development Office, the Texas Diversity Council, the UTSA Inclusion and Community Engagement Center and the UTSA Office of the Associate Provost for Faculty/Student Diversity.