By Lisa Leff, Associated Press
Published: Friday, Jan. 2, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO — As a Mexican-American woman who started her own consulting firm in Los Angeles, accountant Sonia Luna has taken advantage of programs aimed at helping minority- and women-owned businesses compete for government and corporate contracts. But increasingly, the fact that Luna also is a lesbian entrepreneur hasn’t hurt either.
Federal agencies, organizations such as the National Football League and more than one-third of Fortune 500 companies are now trying to expand their vendor pools by explicitly encouraging bids from gay, lesbian and transgender contractors.
The little-known outreach efforts mirror long-standing “supplier diversity” initiatives aimed at creating economic opportunities for businesses owned by racial minorities, women and disabled veterans.
“It allows me to be even prouder of who I am,” said Luna, who hopes her firm, Aviva Spectrum, will benefit from a new California law requiring large utility companies to report how much they spend with LGBT contractors. “And it allows the marketplace to acknowledge a class that has been denied recognition as a minority group.”
The trend has not been without controversy.