OUR HISTORY

OUT Georgia Business Alliance has a long history and deep connection to the activists, business owners, advocates, employees, organizations, and fellow citizens who demanded fair and equal treatment of LGBTQIA+ people when it was more dangerous than ever to be out as gay, lesbian, or queer, especially in the U.S. South. 

Beginning with the late 1970s, LGBTQ+ business owners began organizing professional associations to provide opportunities for networking, promote other LGBTQ+ companies, and to collectively advocate for LGBTQ+ political and economic interests. The developments of these groups revealed the economic strength and growing influence of LGBTQIA+ Atlanta and Georgia in politics starting in the 1980s. 

Atlanta Business and Professional Guild

The Atlanta Business and Professional Guild was established in 1978 as a non-profit service corporation by a group of bar owners in Midtown who were concerned over issues with the city’s liquor licensing process for LGBTQ+ drinking establishments. Organized “to promote, protect, nurture, and advance the interests of gay and lesbian professionals and business owners in the Greater Atlanta area,” the Guild published a directory of lesbian and gay-owned and operated businesses and effectively served as the city’s “gay chamber of commerce.”

The organization’s meetings were often held the second Tuesday of each month in member businesses or other public locations in Midtown. Just three years after its founding, the Atlanta Business and Professional Guild had established a credit union and legal defense fund for its nearly 300 members. Early in its existence, The Guild sponsored monthly dinners with guest lecturers, hosted fundraisers and special holiday parties, and assisted with organizing the Atlanta Pride events. Beginning in 1983, it sponsored the Midtown Classic charity road race and later helped finance several non-profit HIV/ AIDS education and healthcare services in the city.

Fourth Tuesday

Fourth Tuesday was founded in 1982 as a lesbian networking and professional organization that held monthly luncheons and special events at LGBTQ+ owned or welcoming locations throughout the city. The group’s name was derived from its first meeting on the fourth Tuesday of October 1982 and for the code word for a place to gather and socialize in a safe space with other lesbians. 

Fourth Tuesday published its own newsletter and was the primary sponsor of the Business Expo ’89 in collaboration with the Atlanta Business and Professional Guild. Held at the Holiday Inn in Downtown Atlanta in March 1989, the Expo (later renamed the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Business Expo) provided a showcase for 50 LGBTQ+ businesses and organizations from metropolitan Atlanta.

By the mid-1990s, Fourth Tuesday’s membership had grown to more than 500 people throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area. Beginning in 1992 the group started the Pat Hoban Memorial Scholarship for lesbian college students and in 1995 established the Fourth Tuesday Lesbian Cancer Project to provide advocacy, educational, and health support services for lesbians living with cancer.

Atlanta Executive Network 

The Atlanta Executive Network (AEN) formed in 1991 by a group of lesbian and gay business professionals who sought to establish new networking opportunities in the Atlanta corporate and  government sectors. The AEN originally kept the sexual orientation of most of its membership private. 

By 1994, AEN counted 600 members, making it the largest business association in the city. That same year, AEN’s leadership went public that it was a majority LGBTQ+ organization and it embarked on a mentoring campaign for younger lesbian and gay businesspeople and combating employment discrimination against LGBTQ+ workers.

OUR CHAMBER

Greater Atlanta Business Coalition
1994-2003

In July 1994, Fourth Tuesday teamed with Atlanta Executive Network to create the Greater Atlanta Business Coalition (GABC) to sponsor the 6th Annual Gay & Lesbian Business Expo with the theme “The Buck Starts Here.” 

The first meeting was held at the 14th Street Playhouse in November of 1994, with Pat Murphy selected as chairperson of what was considered the first LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce recognized in the United States. In 1998, GABC hosted its inaugural Community Awards Dinner to celebrate and showcase the positive contributions of member businesses and organizations. 

Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
2003-2019

In 2003, GABC updated its name to the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC) and formally joined the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as the only local affiliate chapter in Georgia.

AGLCC was recognized as NGLCC’s Affiliate Chamber of the Year in 2007 and 2016 and received ​​Best in Programming honors in 2014 and 2018. The chamber launched the LGBT Business Summit & Expo in 2017, connecting to its Fourth Tuesday lineage and Expo roots that reached back to the 1980s.

OUT Georgia Business Alliance
2019-today

In 2019, AGLCC celebrated its 25th anniversary, hired its first Executive Director, and unveiled its bold rebrand as the OUT Georgia Business Alliance, serving the LGBTQIA+ business community and our allies across Georgia.

In 2021, OGBA created the OUT Georgia Impact Fund, powered by United Way of Greater Atlanta, to invest in LGBTQIA+ centered nonprofits. That same year, the chamber launched TGX360, the economic empowerment initiative for Georgia’s Transgender, Nonbinary, Gender Expansive, and Intersex community.

OUT Georgia celebrates 30 Years in 2024, a milestone moment that wouldn’t be possible without the bold leadership of lesbian women, the sacrifice of our LGBTQIA+ elders, and the commitment of our members, volunteers, and supporters.