The Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce was originally called the Colorado Business Council, which was founded in 1992, an extremely turbulent year for Colorado’s LGBTQ Community. That year, Colorado Voters approved Amendment 2, whose backers portrayed it as outlawing “special rights” for the LGBTQ community. The measure’s passage provoked outrage nationwide and led Colorado to being branded the “hate state”.
Because LGBTQ business owners wanted to assert their existence and needed to know who their straight allies were in the face of discriminatory Amendment 2, the organization changed its name to better reflect its membership.
Quite often, we are asked about why Chambers of Commerce exist. Chambers of Commerce plays a critical role in being the economic voice of its community. The Denver Metro Chamber, founded over 150 years ago, started with a group of business owners bound together. They rallied for the railroad to go through Denver, giving us an invaluable connection to drive economic growth.
If we look to our colleagues in the west, in the Spring of 1974 a small group of LGBTQ business owners, such as Harvey Milk – owner of Castro Camera Shop, laid out the groundwork for what would become the world’s first LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. From that spark of innovation, courage, and determination, a global movement for economic equality was launched.