The Brighton & Hove Gay Business Forum

March 10, 2013

Gay Business ForumThe Gay Business Forum, of which I am a member, has been up and running for a while now, and I’ve been a member for a few months. It’s a great idea – a forum for the LGBT community’s business owners to come together, discuss matters which affect us all, and make plans to deal with problems, address issues, and move forward together. What could be better?

Well, sadly at the moment, the involvement is somewhat limited – those who are part, and do attend the meetings, put a lot of time, energy and caring into the GBF. But not all “sectors” of the LGBT business community take part.

I believe it could be better if the community actually behaved as such. Instead, it often comes across as though the smaller business owners put in the time and energy to build something like the GBF, work to build relationships with people who “matter”, etc. while it doesn’t always seem to be the same from many in the pub or club trade.

• Are we a community? Or are we ONLY a community for two months of the year in the run up to Pride?

• Are we a community? Or are we ONLY a community when we’re not the strongest? When we don’t have as much to offer?

• Are we a community?

I think we are, but I think we could do a damned sight better at being a community! I think any business which is owned by, staffed by, involved in or provides services to or within the LGBT community would benefit from being involved in the GBF. I think the GBF would benefit from having more business involved, and especially a greater range of businesses. I know that both sides would benefit from the synergy of building such a reciprocal relationship!

We should all be working together; the huge clubs, the big destination bars, the boutique hotels, guest houses and B&Bs; the niche shops on St. James’s Street and in the environs; the restaurants that make their bread and butter from us; the small businesses who either serve, or employ, or both, the community.

My business partner and I own Brighton Boys Ltd together and, while possibly we don’t draw what many may see as direct benefits from being members of the GBF, we think it’s important; we contribute what we can, and hope to do more.

The GBF could – and should – be front and centre representing the interests of the LGBT business community in Brighton & Hove. If the GBF moves more speedily and actively to do so, then the question will only remain to be asked of those business in the community why they are not joining in.

Better still pop along to the next GBF social evening at the A-Bar on Monday, March 25 at 6pm.

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