A week after two Democratic congresswomen complained to the Small Business Administration about removal of LGBT resources from the SBA website, that content has been restored.
U.S. Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez and Yvette Clarke, both of New York and both members of the House Small Business Committee, sent a letter to SBA administrator Linda McMahon last week, pressing her on why the content was removed in January 2017, shortly after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, and had not been restored. The representatives expressed concern that removal of the information “may have been politically or ideologically motivated.”
As of today, the LGBT resources page is back online. “The SBA 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,” the page says. It includes links to regional LGBT business groups and information about the SBA’s LGBT outreach program.
Velázquez and Clarke released this statement: “We’re pleased Administrator McMahon has taken our concerns seriously and reinstated these resources. It is important that all federal agencies are inclusive and work proactively to serve the needs of all Americans. We also continue to be concerned as to why these resources were originally removed and took so long to be restored. It remains our hope that SBA will answer our letter, provide that information and include any previous communication between SBA staff and other Administration officials on this topic.”
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which was the SBA's official partner on its LGBT outreach during President Barack Obama's administration, had also called for restoration of the website content. With today’s news, the group’s president, Justin Nelson, and CEO, Chance Mitchell, issued this statement: “Our work with the Small Business Administration over the last decade has ensured more LGBT business owners than ever before have access to the information, certifications, and resources available to them that allow their businesses to compete for their piece of the American Dream. The NGLCC is pleased to see the SBA reinstate LGBT entrepreneurial resources on their website, just days after the Congressional letter was sent and a conversation between Administrator McMahon and myself was held. Clearly she and the SBA recognize that LGBT business owners across the nation bring countless innovations, contribute over $1.7 trillion to the GDP, and create tens of thousands of jobs where they live. America’s LGBT entrepreneurs, and in fact very diverse community, should be given unfettered access to opportunities to succeed at every level of government and in every marketplace. We thank Reps. Velázquez and Clarke for their leadership in ensuring greater inclusion for all businesses owners in America.”
Much content aimed at LGBT people and other specific populations has been removed from other federal government websites since Trump took office and remains missing. This includes pages from the White House site, the State Department’s site (an apology for decades of discrimination), and the Department of Health and Human Services site (information on lesbian and bisexual women’s health). Also, a report on rape and sexual assault was taken down from the White House site.