Equality Means Business: For Business Owners

How do I join EMB?

Follow the steps below and join the growing list of businesses that are welcoming places to work and patron.

JOIN ONLINE: Fill out and submit the online membership form here.


  • Print out the EMB membership form which includes a pledge guaranteeing that your LGBT customers and clients will not be denied service, nor will your employees be denied or restricted employment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Send the completed form to us:
    Email: [email protected]
    Fax: 804-643-1554
    Mail: P.O. Box 17860, Richmond, VA 23226

What is Equality Means Business (EMB)?

As a business owner, you probably already know how vital lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees and customers are to your success in a modern economy.  Unfortunately, Virginia is behind when it comes to laws that protect gay and transgender people against discrimination. In fact, it’s still perfectly legal for someone to be fired, denied housing, or refused service simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

As a business owner, you can take a stand against discrimination. In the words of one business owner, “Joining EMB doesn’t change our rights as a business; it just means that when we are open for business, we’re open to everyone on the same terms.”

When you join EMB, you make a promise to your community that your business is a safe and welcoming place for LGBT people to work and shop.

Why join?

  • BECAUSE CUSTOMERS CARE:  With an estimated 185,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Virginia, all of whom have countless family members and friends — joining makes good business sense!
  • BECAUSE OF THE COMMUNITY IMPACT: Hiring employees and opening your doors customers who are gay and transgender is the right thing to do. And, Virginia agrees — 84% of Virginian residents support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people. By opening yours, you are helping to make Virginia a more welcoming place to live, work, and shop.
  • BECAUSE OF THE FREE BUSINESS PERKS: The EMB online directory is a tool for consumers, which helps them make well-informed decisions and allows them to intentionally support businesses that are welcoming to LGBT people. Plus, you will receive free promotional material so that you can visibly display to everyone that you are an EMB member.

How do I get free promotional material?

After you become a member, your business will be listed in the Equality Means Business online directory. Plus, we will mail you an Equality Means Business certificate and sticker so that you can let everyone know that your business is a welcoming place to work and to shop. Send us a photo with your EMB material and we’ll add you to our Facebook photo album.


Still have questions? View our frequently asked questions page here or contact Equality Virginia at [email protected] or 804-643-4816 for more information about Equality Means Business.