Is it business-suicide to tell customers I am *LGBT friendly* on my web design site? I amTransgender

by M87B
16 replies
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I got a reseller account at HostGator and I want to do design (of course I will host client's sites on my reseller account and charge them $99 a year).

I am 25 years old. I have been doing web design/coding/etc. since I was 9.

Gay Marriage was recently legalized in my state and it seems as though people are a lot more accepting than I thought they were.

I am just beginning a transition from male to female (but I have a DBA and my legal name won't change right away and stuff).

I'm not going to "flamboyantly announce my gender issues/support of other LGBT people to my customers"... but I was thinking of having about a square inch banner in the sidebar that says "Proud supporter of equal rights for all people" or "LGBT friendly", and I was thinking about putting something in the terms of service like it's common to see about not discrimating against people for any legally protected status (but I was thinking of appending to that "...not just because it's the law but because it's the right thing to do!"

Will I get in hot water for this? (With law/govt/customers/prospects?/third party companies that I buy graphic rights from/etc.)

And also if I do this what suggestions can you give me to do it in a way where it offends as little people as possible but lets people who are in the LGBT spectrum know that they don't have to be afraid to do business with me?

I'm also wondering is it likely that I may lose potential customers BUT gain a whole bunch of LGBT customers that come to me specifically because they know they will be treated as equals?

Thanks for any insight you can offer me and please no hateful stuff. I don't mean to offend anyone with this posting.

#amtransgender #businesssuicide #customers #design #friendly #lgbt #site #web
  • Profile picture of the author Steffy
    Hmm, depends.

    How would you feel if you saw a banner on someones site promoting their racist, albeit personal beliefs?

    Even though you are aware they are entitled to their opinion you may not want to do business with them. Unfortunately someone may feel like that about your stance on LGBT rights.

    I know that sucks, but sometimes that's just the way it is.
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    • Profile picture of the author M87B
      Originally Posted by Steffy View Post

      Hmm, depends.

      How would you feel if you saw a banner on someones site promoting their racist, albeit personal beliefs?

      Even though you are aware they are entitled to their opinion you may not want to do business with them. Unfortunately someone may feel like that about your stance on LGBT rights.

      I know that sucks, but sometimes that's just the way it is.
      Thanks Steffy. It does suck but you do have a valid point.

      I don't really WANT to shove anything in anyone's face in that kind of way; but I definitely want everyone to KNOW they are welcome to do business with me.

      And I'm trying to weigh the trade off between alienating the majority of prospects (who I wouldn't get all of them as customers anyway) and gaining a minority (but a big portion converting to customers because of the respect they wouldn't get elsewhere).

      I know there is MORE of a majority but people in a similiar position may find themselves being more apt to trust me maybe?

      I'll probably not do it, (or maybe get another reseller-account for a business that specifically is geared towards the LGBT community) and run the current label as is.

      But it would be nice if I could use one reseller account/and one web design business identity than multiple ones.
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      • Profile picture of the author Gail_Curran
        If you want to be discreet about your affinity, put a rainbow symbol of some type on your site. No words are even necessary, unless you want to say something. It's blindingly obvious to LGBT persons, but it's not likely to offend people outside that group (many won't even register the symbol's meaning).

        Also, it's your site, it's legal to be LGBT in your country, and it's legal to have an opinion about something. So you're not going to get into hot water.

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  • Profile picture of the author lovboa
    Unless you're specializing in marriage websites or something of that sort, I think it's irrelevant. It has nothing to do with the business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Barboza
      Originally Posted by lovboa View Post

      Unless you're specializing in marriage websites or something of that sort, I think it's irrelevant. It has nothing to do with the business.
      Exactly my thoughts. It is irrelevant to the business. I wouldn't have any problem getting a web design from a LGBT person. All I care if to be satisfied with the design.
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  • Profile picture of the author M87B

    I like your rainbow idea, and without words it wouldn't be likely to offed anyone since to anyone who isn't LGBT it's just a rainbow.

    lovboa & Alex Barboza

    I agree that it doesnt have anything to do with the business but I personally know a bunch of LGBT business owners and they want me to build a site for them, should I hide their sites from my portfolio so as to not scare away the other customers or would leaving it there in the portfolio (and just not "announcing" my company's LGBT-friendly-status) be the way to go or do you think it would be ok to include the sites in my portfolio?

    *Basically if I have A BUNCH of client websites all "coincidentally" happening to be LGBT-themed would that itself alienate other potential clients?

    *Am I being too paranoid?
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  • Profile picture of the author Mitchell H
    I think that it would not be worth it if it is not that important to you. It will bring some very loyal costumers because they will appreciate the fact that you are LGBT friendly, but you also need to remember that this could turn some members away who have different views then you. But if you feel really strongly about the issue then you should have it there regardless of what people think.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gail_Curran
      You're being a little paranoid.

      Display the LGBT sites proudly in your portfolio. Most people won't notice or care. Business owners want a great website and if you can deliver, that's all that matters to them.

      And really, if someone is that offended by your client base, do you even want their business?

      Do what your heart tells you to do. You can never please everyone. You will always "turn off" some folks, no matter who you are, so do what feels right and makes you happy.

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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Here is the answer from a straight male whose best friend is gay:

    Unless your target group for doing business is the LGBT segment of the society - shut up! Sorry, there is no simpler way to put it.

    In business you should leave "at home" (i.e. outside of it) your political creed, your party preference, your like or dislike for the president, prime minister, etc. Clients don't give a shit about what you believe and what you find to be "the right thing" - except doing your job on time. That's the only "right thing" they care for.

    Just for the record: this is true not only for LGBT people but for everybody. Even on Facebook, where I have a lot of IMer "friends" I already excluded quite a number of them from the list of possible business partners because of their stupid political postings...

    As I said: unless you want to do business with a specific segment of the population (KKK members or LGBT) don't scare away the rest of the potential clients with your demonstrative political/social slogan. Why do you need to wear your heart on your sleeves?

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  • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
    So who's making all the KKK web sites? I think there's a niche. What would I put on my site to call out to possible KKK clients without offending those who might be offended by the KKK?


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  • Profile picture of the author TryBPO
    Hey OP,

    I think that (sometimes) there's GOOD reason to turn away those you're not looking to attract, because it ENDEARS you to those that you are...but I don't see how that's the case here.

    Is there anything specific about the LGBT community that makes them your IDEAL target market? Is it worth potentially turning off some clients to attract more from the LGBT community?

    I hold some views and opinions that put me in the minority. I'm not shy about them...I share them openly with friends, family, and acquaintances when it comes up...but they often have nothing to do with my business and there's not a need to share them in that capacity.

    I could see if you were looking to build a community in the LGBT community...but I don't think it applies here. It would be similar to putting a Mormon sticker up, or an "I voted for Obama" image on your site. What's the value?
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  • Profile picture of the author Karen Barr
    I think anyone who would be put off by your support of human rights is the kind of bigot who you don't want to do business with anyway...

    I'm trying to come up with some sort of tagline or slogan which you can discreetly put in the footer... something like "Proudly Supporting Diversity" or similar? This is pretty all-encompassing without saying "YO I'M TRANS."

    If you want to specifically attract LGTB customers then you could be a bit more in your face, or you could advertise specifically in appropriate locations/publications.

    You didn't say whereabouts you live so I don't know if your city will have a large LGTB community who would be in need of your services. If I wanted to attract this particular segment, I'd have a look at the non-profit organisations in this field, check which ones have crappy or non-existent websites, and offer them a (re)design pro bono which includes a prominent link back to your site in the footer.

    Good luck with your business, and with your transition
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  • Profile picture of the author WarrenPeterson
    What we think doesn't matter, what your target market thinks does matter.

    Who is your market, and what do they think? That is what you need to answer.

    Perhaps you can fully embrace the concept and become the Go-To person for your community? Web design and hosting is a massive niche anyway, segmenting that down to an area you can dominate is not a bad strategy... I suspect that it wouldn't take long to develop a good name and good following (with the given that your work is quality), which leads to the all-powerful customer referrals.
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    Any time you broadcast your personal beliefs, biases, preferences, or values to your possible customer base, you alienate a certain percentage of them. That's just the way it is.

    If that's acceptable to you, then do whatever you want to do - it's all up to you. If making your feelings known is more important to you than the possibility of shrinking your target market, then you should.

    For myself, I don't do business with many people that incorporate a personal agenda with their business, whatever it might be, for one simple reason: if you promote an agenda, then by doing business with you I am, by extension, supporting that agenda. With very few exceptions, I refuse to do that.

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  • Profile picture of the author W130SN
    As others have said put your business first, don't alienate anybody unless you are specifically trying to attract LBGT clients. (It may be a profitable niche so you should look into it.)
    In this day and age it shouldn't matter what your sexual orientation is but unfortunately there will be a percentage of the population that may have negative feelings to doing business with you if you promote LBGT issues. If you can afford to lose their custom and think you can recoup it through the LGBT community then go for it. Anyway good luck !
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  • Profile picture of the author Young Financier
    In the beginning you said you weren't going to be flamboyantly announcing your sexuality on your site, but this whole issue seems to be doing just that...bringing unneeded attention to something that no one would even care about if they didn't know.

    Aside from that, why even mention LGBT or the equal rights stuff at all? Carry on business as usual. If a person is interested in getting some work from you, what does your sexuality matter?
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