Back in the first days after President Trump’s inauguration, the Small Business Administration took down resources targeted at LGBT business owners from its website, stating that those pages – along with many others – were “under review.”
The move understandably upset the LGBT community and as recently as last week no action had been taken to restore the information – so much so that a few members of Congress raised the issue.
“This is deeply troubling and renews our concern that this page’s removal may have been politically or ideologically motivated, rather than simply administrative,” Reps. Nydia M. Velazquez and Yvette D. Clarke, both New York Democrats, wrote in a letter to the SBA’s administrator Linda McMahon. The authors, according to this report on NBC News pointed out the value of the “nearly $2 trillion in economic contributions” made by the 1.4 million LGBT-owned businesses across the nation.
“Shocking and disappointing for sure,” Helen Russell, the co-founder of Equator Coffees and Teas, an LGBT-certified company in San Rafael, California (and a winner of the 2016 Small Business of the Year by the SBA) said in this USA Today report. “It is disheartening that the SBA has not taken action to restore the LGBT outreach page. We are innovators, job creators, taxpayers and providers of essential services that benefit our entire society. Erasing the page will not erase these contributions.”
Well, there’s good news for the LGBT community: The resources are back online.
The website has been restored with updated links to local offices and resources including information about certification for LGBTQ-owned small businesses. The website has also been updated with an official statement expressing regret for the delay and confusion, saying that the agency is “proud to support the LGBT business community,” and “conducts outreach to be more inclusive of LGBT business owners, and our staff welcomes and recognizes the importance of greater inclusion at all levels and to all communities.”
So why the long delay? Rep. Velazquez tweeted that she will continue looking into what happened.