Proud Business Project--Queer LifeSpace

Business Name: Queer LifeSpace

Website and Social Media: https://www.queerlifespace.org/   https://www.facebook.com/madeofusforus/

Location: 2275 Market St. @ Noe, SF, 94114

Tell me about your business: Our mission is to create a safe space for the LGBTQAI community and our allies. Our client centered integrated mental health and substance abuse treatment is designed to empower, inform and provide a platform for healing and growth. QLS also trains queer-identified mental health professionals to provide compassionate support to members of our own community.

How does your queer identity play a role in your work? It's a bit tricky as a queer high femme - people assume I'm straight, so I have taken to wearing pins on my lapel so I get visibility and I don't have to keep coming out of the closet ALL DAY LONG. haha. I also have a tremendous amount of privilege as a white, middle class woman and I have devoted my life to serving others and using my privilege to advance the issues that face women and folks of color.

What makes you most proud as a business owner? I am less proud and more humbled to lead and serve my staff and community. I am incredibly moved by the staff and board members of QLS, all of whom are volunteers. Their generosity and work ethic is beyond measure.

What makes you most proud as a member of the LGBTQ community? Our ability to expand and grow, the tenacity with which we've clung to life throughout the ages.

What does community mean to you? Personally and professionally, community is everything - they are my family, my support, my inspiration, the reason I get up in the morning...

What has been one of your biggest challenges getting to where you are? Juggling single motherhood, harassment due to my identity

What is one piece of advice you would give to an up and coming queer entrepreneur? Always lead with a service heart, ask yourself how you can serve others and show up and do it. Incredible opportunities will follow.

The Proud Business Project is a photography project highlighting LGBTQ business owners and entrepreneurs in the Bay Area who honor their identity in their business to serve their community in a bigger way. Do you know a proud business owner? Email jamiethrower@gmail.com with the subject "Proud Business Project".