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4 things we learned from the 5th Annual @StartOut Awards

If you follow our founder, @kholi, then you already know that the StartOut Awards Show happened at the St. Regis this past Friday (in SF).

Honestly, it was amazing. Even Leslie Jordan's too long stories about Chattanooga. 

But, of course, every moment is one from which we can learn, so - admittedly, without some much needed context - here's what being in the room taught us.

Wolfe Video Founder & CEO, Kathy Wolfe and Khafra & Company Founder, Carrie Y. T. Kholi

Wolfe Video Founder & CEO, Kathy Wolfe and Khafra & Company Founder, Carrie Y. T. Kholi

  1. #BlackLivesMatter (still) - Oh, of course, there were black people in the room. But honestly, a number that could have been counted on 2-4 hands. 
  2. #LesbianLivesMatter - We wouldn't even comment on this if StartOut were one of those other organizations feigning inclusion, while really only working to ensure the wellbeing of wealthy white usually male constituents.  We'd certainly take it for granted that the entire evening was basically the best of the best of the gayest of the gay.
  3. #WomanLivesMatter - Even if we had counted the number of women in the room (and don't get us wrong, there were definitely more than 4 hands worth), we would have eventually been reminded that the number of non-white women was certainly lacking.
  4. "We got a long way to go." - Like a young pop scholar once revealed, sometimes we're not nearly as close to the goal as we think.  StartOut is self-defined as being "driven to inspire all LGBTQ entrepreneurs to achieve new heights." And still, Friday - with its discussions of visibility and progress and full and equal rights - made clear that the full breadth of "all" is a space most catering to the LGBTQ community have yet to reach.

But these lessons are no shade to StartOut.

With a two-tiered membership offering education, research and funding options, mentorship, and a directory of some of the brightest LGBTQ entrepreneurs, StartOut is "a new community of leaders with economic resources and personal support." And like any new community, they need the integration of the rich diversity of their neighbors; they need the illumination of some of their lesser visible immediate community, and they need all of us to hold them accountable - through constructive criticism as well as participation.

Image via StartOut

Image via StartOut

StartOut currently has six chapters across the US, offering a variety of informational meetups and events throughout the calendar year.

Find one. Register for two tickets. Give the extra one to a self-identified POC.

Extra credit if she's a woman.