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MBA Orlando: Chamber History

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The Metropolitan Business Association of Orlando (MBA Orlando) is the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, serving the Greater Orlando Metropolitan area. Our region ranks 9th in the nation for number of LGBT-identified residents.

The organization was initially formed in 1992 as a outlet for LGBT business professionals and Allies to network and support each other in business and professional pursuits. In March 2011, MBA Orlando moved into its Thornton Park location, and then in March of 2013, MBA Orlando moved it’s headquarters into the middle of downtown. As of 2015, our current Chamber of Commerce is located in the Thornton Park District of the City.

Today, MBA Orlando boasts over 250 business organizations and professionals, working together to achieve community solidarity, professional and business success, and advocacy through economics. We accomplish these achievements through monthly networking/social events, community forums, financial and logistical support of local non-profit organizations that serve the LGBT community, and the Come Out With Pride annual event.

At the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 National Business & Leadership Conference, MBA Orlando was honored to be awarded the 2012 Rising Start Chamber of the Year. This was a huge accomplishment for MBA and represents years of hard work and tremendous growth. This award is given to an affiliate chamber that has demonstrated perseverance, outstanding growth and a dedication to it’s local LGBT business community.

In 2016, our RED Group was nationally recognized for its Excellence in Programming.

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The Orlando’s Pride Parade history began with a small rally in 1991 organized by Orlando Regional Pride in the name of equality for the LGBT community. Members included Patty Sheehan, Phyllis Murphy, Joel Strack, LeJune Perrin, Brian Arbogast and Keith Morrison. A few years later the parade was organized by Central Florida Regional Pride parade which dissolved in 2005 and decided in June 2005 that there would be NO parade.

In July 2005, the MBA spearheaded the creation of a new event and invited UCF’s Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Student Union (GLBSU) and previous parade volunteers to be part of the development. The event was named Come Out With Pride and October was chosen to align with the National Coming Out Day event on October 11th and National Gay and Lesbian History month in October. We also hoped for cooler fall days!

The annual celebration is now Central Florida’s signature LGBT Pride event and is one of the largest Gay Pride events in the country. Each year Come Out With Pride draws over 140,000 people to the shores of Lake Eola and provides a joyful platform for our entire LGBTQ+ Community to celebrate our authentic lives.  Funds raised from the event make it possible to provide grants to other LGBTQ+ non-profit organizations in our area.

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