Anti-gay cows? (Photo: Chick-fil-A.com)
At this protest, gay activists eat
out but not at Chick-fil-A
QSanAntonio.com, January 7, 2011
San Antonio gay activists are planning a protest of Chick-fil-A, Inc.
the chicken sandwich chain with 1,500 locations in 38 states. However,
there will be no pickets because the event will be held at Luther's Cafe,
where protesters say they would rather spend their money.
Activists are asking the community to stop patronizing Chick-fil-A and
are challenging the company to join the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
The protest of Chick-fil-A arises from the news this week that the company
was sponsoring two marriage seminars associated with the right-wing, anti-gay
marriage Pennsylvania Family Institute. Calls from activists to boycott
the chain immediately went out across the country.
The furor spread on the internet and yesterday the Chick-fil-A name was
removed from the web site for the seminars which are titled, "The
Art of Marriage -- Getting to the heart of God's design."
"There will be an economic show of force and protest in San Antonio
this Sunday, against the recent, bigoted actions of Chick-fil-A"
says Darrell Parsons, one of the event organizers. "This protest
is very simple: We will invade Luthers Cafe, a gay-owned restaurant and
spend our money there to show the economic force that LGBT equality has
"Since Chick Fil A is closed on Sunday, all of their local store
managers will be notified of this economic protest and will be invited
to attend and address their company's actions," says Parsons. "Bring
your money, eat, drink and be a part of a visible show of force for LGBT
Chick-fil-A Economic Protest, Sunday, January 9, 2011. At Luther's
Cafe, 1425 N. Main from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Everyone who attends is asked
to wear red. Any questions can be directed to to Darrell Parsons @ 210-324-4900
responds, but connections to anti-gay groups deepen
Change.org, January 7, 2011
It took Chick-fil-A more than two days to respond to the company's ties
to an anti-gay group in Pennsylvania -- the Pennsylvania Family Institute
-- but last night, the restaurant chain's corporate office finally released
a lengthy statement on their Facebook page. The essence? Yes, a food donation
is being made to support the Pennsylvania Family Institute's work to 'protect
marriage' by a franchise as part of Chick-fil-A's community outreach efforts
... but please don't take that as anything anti-gay.
unveils biscuits & bigotry
Miami New Times, January 6, 2011
Executives at Chick-fil-A had these days circled on their calendars long
ago: It was to be Spicy Chicken Biscuit Premiere Week, a public-relations-sparked
rollout of the company's most exciting offering since last year's Spicy
Lesbian writer to headline LGBT Chamber
QSanAntonio, June 9, 2010
Lesbian author and journalist Kathy Belge will be the keynote speaker
at the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards dinner
that is scheduled for June 18 at the El Tropicano Hotel.
Belge is an expert on lesbian life and culture. She’s a political
activist and journalist covering the LGBT community. She also has a history
as a LGBT youth social worker.
A regular contributor to Curve magazine, Belge pens one-half of the popular
lesbian advice column Lipstick & Dipstick. The column offers advice
on lesbian relationships -- from finding a date to staying together, how
to deal with exes, emotional baggage, and sexual dilemmas.
Belge is also the guide to all things lesbian on About.com where she offers
relationship and coming out advice, facts and history about the LGBT community,
insight into the politics of the day, including same-sex marriage and
celebrity interviews. If it's about lesbian life, she writes about it.
She is co-author of Lipstick & Dipstick’s Essential Guide to
Lesbian Relationships and is working on her second book, a guide for LGBT
Born and raised on the East coast, Belge lives in Portland, Oregon with
her partner of many years, their Alaskan malamutes and cats. When she’s
not writing, she can be found hiking, biking or watching women’s
The Second Annual San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner --
Friday June 18, 2010 at the El Tropicano Hotel, 110 Lexington Avenue.
Cocktails and silent auction at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets
$75 available at SALGBTChamber.org.
Darrell Parsons, President of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce
addresses the group at a luncheon on August 13. Guest speaker at the event
was Bonnie Victor-Fried of the San Antonio Opera. (Photos by Antonia Padilla)
LGBT Chamber partners with city to
attract gay tourists
QSanAntonio.com, August 14, 2009
Speaking at a luncheon held on August 13, Darrell Parsons, President of
the LGBT Chamber of Commerce said the organization has met with officials
from the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau to discuss the development
of a web site to attract gay tourism to San Antonio.
While many of the specific details of the partnership have yet to be ironed
out, Parsons says he’s encouraged by the city’s interest in
helping develop a source of information for GLBT travelers. Parson’s
says the Chamber envisions web pages filled with information about local
attractions, a calendar of GLBT events and contacts for gay-friendly businesses
in San Antonio.
It is widely acknowledged by travel experts that the GLBT
sector is the most robust in the industry and the least affected by the
recent economic downturn.
Rodric Fitzgerald, Chairman of the Chamber’s Media Relations and
Marketing Committee, is heading the project. Fitzgerald says he’s
met twice with Convention and Visitors Bureau officials and expects progress
on the project within the next few months.
Several major cities, including Dallas and Ft. Lauderdale, have specialized
web sites developed to attract gay visitors. "Tourism is one of San
Antonio’s major industries," says Fitzgerald, "we need
to have a resource for GLBT tourists who are in town for business or pleasure
and are looking for gay-friendly places and events."
The luncheon, which was held at Bloomin’ Bistro, was the first networking
event the Chamber has scheduled during the noon hour. About 40 Chamber
members were present and each had a chance to make a quick presentation
about their businesses. Guest speaker for the event was Bonnie Victor-Fried
of the San Antonio Opera.
For more information about the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce go
S.A. LGBT Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner, Emily Morgan
Hotel, June 20, 2009
Chamber dinner celebrates milestone
QSanAntonio.com, June 25, 2009
The San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s first annual awards dinner
on June 20 celebrated the group’s inaugural year with a salute to
the power of the gay dollar in the Alamo City.
Now almost 100 strong, the Chamber begins it’s second year with
an eye toward becoming an integral resource for San Antonio’s gay-friendly
"We have plans to make our Chamber a leading force in the GLBT community.
We’ve added businesses from every segment of our community, including
builders, bankers, hotels, restaurants, media outlets, non-profit agencies,
performing arts groups, nightclubs and realtors; just to mention a few,"
says Chamber president Darrell Parsons.
The Chamber has also been recognized and accepted as an affiliate member
of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).
Parson’s says that in the coming year, the Chamber will work to
attract more gay tourism and national GLBT meetings and conventions to
the city by partnering with the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"Another major accomplishment of the Chamber has been
the creation of the long-awaited, GLBT Community Calendar," says
Parsons. "For years, GLBT groups have discussed the idea of having
a single community calendar, where individuals could view all the events
being hosted by local groups and organizations in San Antonio. The Chamber
decided to take on this project for their web site and it is now fully
operational and quite impressive."
Having recently returned from the NGLCC’s national convention in
Seattle, Parson’s explains there’s a lot to be gained by being
a gay-friendly business. "The national GLBT market is staggering
-- estimated to be $800 billion this year alone. With San Antonio ranking
as one of the strongest economies in the nation, I can guarantee you that
some of those billions are being spent right here."
Awards honor Chamber supporters
Awards were bestowed on the night of the dinner that was held at the Emily
Elected Politician -- State Rep. Mike Villarreal
Corporate Award -- Luther’s
Non-Profit Award -- Metropolitan Community
Church of San Antonio
Business Award -- Randy Cuniff, owner of
the Heat, the Saint and Luthers
Media Award -- Sam Sanchez, Publisher of
Volunteer Awards -- Roderick Fitzgerald
and Grace Leslie
Chamber Founder Cristina Martinez presented Darrell Parsons the Founder’s
Award and Parsons, in turn, presented her with the President’s Award.
Parsons says that building the organization from the ground up has proved
challenging. "In the beginning, we met often and we disagreed often.
But we laid out a plan, created bylaws, filed legal documents, opened
a bank account, created a Web site, developed membership levels, and started
"I am pleased that in only nine short months of opening up membership
to the community, we are very near the 100-member mark. I strongly encourage
our community to go to our web site (sagaychamber.com) and check out the
list of Chamber members before shopping for services and goods."
LGBT Chamber reaches one-year milestone
Online chat with Darrell Parsons, QSanAntonio, March 20, 2009
Members of the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce are celebrating the
organization's first year anniversary. To mark the milestone, QSanAntonio
went online with Chamber President Darrell Parsons to ask about the group's
inaugural year and what its plans are for the future.
Darrell congratulations on the Chamber's first anniversary. How many members
does the chamber now have?
Since accepting memberships in October, we have rapidly grown to 49 paying
members, with an average of 5 new members joining each month.
The growth of the organization came very quickly, didn't it?
Since opening membership to the public, we have excelled rapidly with
an every growing roster of businesses. We realize that the phenomenal
success we have and the work that lies before us cannon be accomplished
with our current nine Directors. That is why we recently added two more
Directors to help with the workload. We also developed a very dynamic
marketing team who has created what will be the crown jewel of our Chamber
-- an interactive web site to further promote not only the Chamber but
individual businesses as well.
Have you had any particular challenges in getting the Chamber organized?
A little over 10 months ago a group of 16 diverse and dedicated individuals
gathered to create a Chamber of Commerce. If you have ever tried to build
an organization from the ground up with no blueprint to rely upon, you
can only imagine how difficult and strenuous our task was. Let there be
no mistake, there were many trying and difficult moments; moments where
many of us probably wanted to run away, but we didn’t. We remained
and worked things out as a unified team. We had many in the community
doubt that we would even get off the ground, let alone see a one-year
anniversary. But what kept us together was our vision and hope for our
community. We had a vision to give it all we had. Yes, we have had our
growing pains and will probably have more growing pains. At least I hope
so-- because the key word here is "growth."
What do you see for the coming year?
We will continue to host our highly successful monthly Mix and Mingles.
We will be hosting our very first Community Awards Banquet and Silent
Auction on Saturday, June 20 at the Emily Morgan Hotel. We also are participating
in a joint Pride Event with the Human Rights Campaign, the Stonewall Democrats
and Gay Pride San Antonio.
Our goals are to continue to grow; to address and correct any issues of
concern with our membership; to build alliances with other GLBT organizations;
to foster and promote unity and pride within our community. Most importantly,
we want to give that GLBT person out there-- who has ever felt less than
another person, felt hopeless or ashamed of being who they are -- an organization
where they can come be and a proud member of the community.
LGBT Chamber’s November mixer
Photos by Antonia Padilla, QSanAntonio.com, November 22
The San Antonio Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Chamber of Commerce
had their monthly mixer on November 21 at the Radius Building on Auditorium
Circle. Some of those in attendance included members of the Texas Gay
Rodeo Association and singers from the Alamo City Men’s Chorale
who also performed for the gathering.
GLBT Chamber monthly mixer
Photos by Antonia Padilla, September 26
Members of the San Antonio Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce held
their first monthly mixer at the Fairmont Hotel on September 26. Special
guest at the event was State Representative Joe Farias (top row, photo
left in gray suit). Founder Cristina Martinez (top row, right photo) gave
a brief address.
Viewpoint: Diversity is the key to
success in business
By Cristina Martinez, Q San Antonio, August 16
There is a change ahead for all businesses, change that is shaped by demographics
and markets. That change is the challenge of embracing not only diversity
of race, gender, religion and political affiliation, but of sexual orientation
as well. Any business hoping to survive and thrive in the future should
be listening and acting now.
Not long ago, the gay market in the U.S. was largely undocumented. None
of the Fortune 500 companies or major corporations had yet discovered
the value of the gay and lesbian consumer. Today, market research is clearly
defining and validating the GLBT market. For the first time in history,
marketing executives and mainstream Americans are recognizing the financial
clout of the gay community.
Gay and lesbian consumers account for over $660 billion of worth of spending
power annually. By 2011 that figure will rise to $835 billion.* Businesses
are finding that in order to survive and compete they must move into this
We live in an age when flexibility and creativity are the keys to competitiveness.
Yet too often we operate from old stereotypes and fears. Part of the human
condition, reflected in business, is the desire to cling to traditional
and safe patterns. We find solace in those whose appearance and outlook
reflects our own. However, what is needed is expansion and inclusiveness,
working with new ideas and new people.
Diversity is the richest resource we have. It is the source of all creativity
and innovation. No matter what the business, recognizing diversity benefits
the individual, the organization and society as a whole.
Workplace diversity is no longer wishful thinking. It is an essential
component of every successful business. The world is changing. Attitudes
are changing. Gay and lesbian Americans finding acceptance in politics,
media and in the boardroom.
Today, more than 80 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 now ban discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation. Over 50 percent of the Fortune 500
offer health and other benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees.**
As acceptance grows, companies, corporations and small businesses are
reaching out to gay and lesbian consumers by expanding their marketing
toward this very important market niche. And by doing so, they are finding
success reflected in their bottom line.
Cristina Martinez is President and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Rainbow
Pages and founder of the San Antonio Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
* Statistics cited from "The Gay and Lesbian
Market in the U .S." (January 2007), a report published by market
research firm Packaged Facts, in collaboration with gay and lesbian PR
and marketing firm Witeck-Combs Communications Inc.
**Fortune Magazine, April 26, 2006, "Corporate America backs gay
rights" by Marc Gunther. (http://money.cnn.com/2006/04/25/magazines/fortune/pluggedin_fortune/)
Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Rainbow Pages
Luther's Cafe, July 10, 2008
S.A.GLBT Chamber and Rainbow Pages
QSanAntonio, July 11
Over 300 people came to Luther’s Cafe on July 10 for a double celebration
of two new community institutions. The big party marked the distribution
of the inaugural edition of the Gay and Lesbian Rainbow Pages and the
introduction of the Board of Directors and Advisory Board of San Antonio’s
new Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
The driving force behind the festivities is Cristina Martinez, the Houston-based
founder and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Rainbow Pages. Besides publishing
a local edition of her directory in San Antonio, Martinez also was instrumental
in the creation of the new Chamber of Commerce.
On April 5 of this year, Martinez brought together local GLBT business
people and activists for the first organizing meeting. In three short
months Martinez, with the help of San Antonian Robert Vargas, brought
the new organization into existence.
Martinez says that she envisions that the Chamber will organize monthly
mixers at member organizations, create networking opportunities and special
events to foster business relationships, and grow commerce within the
GLBT community. The Chamber would also promote San Antonio to national
GLBT communities with a goal of bringing more business and people to the
The Chamber’s Board of Directors introduced on June10 includes:
Darrell E. Parsons, President (psychotherapist); Tracye D. Hall, President
Elect (club owner); Phillip G. Barcena, Vice President (President, Gay
Pride S.A.); Gary Tapp, Treasurer (Wood Realty); Lisa Teshirogi, Secretary
(Bank Of America); Rudy Lozano (Re/Max Fidelity); Nelda Hernandez (Liberty
Mutual Insurance); Rodric E. Fitzgerald (Cobalt Group); and Grace Leslie
The Chamber also announced the names of its Advisory Board: Cristina E.
Martinez, Founder and President of Advisory Board, (owner of Gay &
Lesbian Rainbow Pages); Elena Guajardo, Vice President Advisory Board
(first openly gay City Council woman); Randy Cuniff (owner Heat Bar &
Luther’s Cafe); Nancy Russell (realtor); Roberto Candelaria (community
activist); and Dee Smith (ex-military and community activist).
The new San Antonio edition of the Gay and Lesbian Rainbow pages will
be distributed free throughout San Antonio. For a list of distribution
sites or to order a copy by mail go to RainbowPages.net.
For more information about the San Antonio GLBT Chamber of Commerce
call Robert Vargas at 210-212-4700.
Taco Cabana backs out of catering
for GLBT Chamber meeting
QSanAntonio, April 8
Organizers for the inaugural meeting for the San Antonio GLBT Chamber
of Commerce revealed that Taco Cabana backed out of catering lunch for
the April 5th event after the employee handling the order learned that
it was a gay gathering.
Cristina Martinez, the main organizer for the event, told QSanAntonio
that she called Taco Cabana’s catering department on April 3 to
make arrangements with them to provide lunch for the 40 people who were
planning to attend. Martinez says she spoke to a Taco Cabana employee
who told her to call back the next day to finalize the arrangements and
pay for the catering with her credit card.
On Friday, April 4, an article appeared in the business section of the
San Antonio Express-News describing the upcoming GLBT Chamber meeting.
When Martinez called back to pay for the catering, the Taco Cabana employee
asked Martinez if the event was the one that appeared in the Express-News
article. Martinez says that when she replied that it was, the Taco Cabana
employee told her that he had gotten a lot of pre-paid orders and was
too busy to cater the Chamber luncheon.
"He claimed that after we had spoken on April 3, he received many
calls for catering and that they paid him and he accepted them,"
Martinez told QSanAntonio. "I reminded him that I offered to give
him my credit card for the $492.58 but that he had told me to call back."
Martinez arranged for another caterer, however she contacted Taco Cabana
again after the Chamber meeting. "I wanted the company to be aware
that I had shared my experience with everyone at the meeting and that
many individuals decided not to go back to Taco Cabana."
Martinez says that the Taco Cabana manager she spoke to offered his sincere
apologies for what had transpired. "He said that if the Chamber had
any other events that needed catering, Taco Cabana would be happy to do
In addition to the snub from Taco Cabana, Martinez says that Chamber organizers
received seven anti-gay "hate" calls saying, among other things,
that homosexuality is a sin, that Chamber organizers were going to Hell,
that if the GLBT Chamber came into being there would be a backlash. "All
I could say to them was that they were entitled to their own opinion,"
says Martinez. "Then, I just hung up."
Meeting addresses creation of S.A.
GLBT Chamber of Commerce
QSanAntonio, April 8, 2008
Cristina Martinez, publisher of the Gay & Lesbian Rainbow Pages, welcomed
over 40 people on April 5 to a roundtable discussion aimed at creating
a San Antonio GLBT Chamber of Commerce.
In her address to attendees, Martinez explained that the purpose of establishing
a GLBT Chamber of Commerce is to empower, support and promote the economic
and cultural development of GLBT businesses, GLBT-allied and supportive
businesses, non-profits and individuals in the San Antonio and surrounding
Martinez also outlined the steps she envisioned in creating the new organization.
The first order of business was the creation of a Steering/Advisory Committee
whose members who would identify and nominate members with the necessary
skills to serve on the first Board of Directors.
Steering/Advisory committee members will meet on a biweekly basis until
which time all duties can be turned over to an established Board. Steering
Committee members can self-nominate or be nominated for the first Board.
Board nominations are due on April 30 and Board members will be elected
on May 15.
Individuals who volunteered to be on the first Steering Committee were:
Charles "Chad" Rembacki, Rodolfo "Rudy" Lozano, Antonia
Padilla, Anel Flores, Nelda Hernandez
Dee Smith, Gary Tapp, Cristina Martinez, Roberto Candelaria, and Javier