Check out this cool new ad that businesses can use to show their support for LGBTQ patrons.

The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-gender couple.

Its ruling, however, was particularly narrow and reflective of the specifics in the case. The decision avoided setting any new precedent on if a business owner can discriminate against an LGBTQ patron based on religious belief.

In writing the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy made sure to affirm protections for LGBTQ people, The New York Times reported.


But the misleading narrative that SCOTUS' ruling was "a major victory for religious liberty" — as Sen. Ted Cruz claimed in his tweet below — began to take hold, regardless of the details in the court's decision.

That narrative is music to bigots' ears.

Some anti-LGBTQ leaders and business owners have felt emboldened by SCOTUS' decision.

In a controversial Facebook comment after the ruling, South Dakota Rep. Michael Clark celebrated the development and claimed a business owner "should have the opportunity to run his business the way he wants" — even if it includes refusing to provide services to people of color.

(Clark later walked back the claim.)

Jeff Amyx, who first made waves in 2015 for hanging an abhorrent "No Gays Allowed" sign at the front of his Tennessee hardware store, called SCOTUS' new wedding cake decision a "ray of sunshine."

Image from Brandon Rook/YouTube.

"Christianity is under attack," Amyx explained. "This is a great win, don't get me wrong, but this is not the end. This is just the beginning."

Fortunately, at least one LGBTQ rights group isn't sitting idly by.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) decided to fight back against the hate by equipping allies in the business world with a simple but effective tool: a sign of their own.

HRC took out a full-page ad in USA Today that reads, "We stand with the LGBTQ community," and "We are open to all."

The ad, as HRC's Charlotte Clymer indicated on Twitter, can be hung in a business' window to ensure queer and trans patrons know they're welcome inside.  

The nonprofit also put a downloadable and printable version of the ad on its website and is encouraging supporters to stand in solidarity with the queer community by using the hashtag #OpenToAll on social media platforms.

Moves like this one can make a big difference.

In 2015, after then-Gov. Mike Pence signed a now-infamous anti-LGBTQ "religious freedom" bill into law in Indiana, thousands of businesses pushed back against the discriminatory legislation by placing "This business serves everyone" signs in their storefronts.

Some lovely people “shop hopping” at #openforservice businesses #love #support #wewelcomeall http://ow.ly/i/a8vEO

Posted by Open For Service on Saturday, March 28, 2015

That initiative by Open For Service was part of the broad backlash to the law, which was later revised to protect LGBTQ people in employment, housing, and services.

Aside from HRC's sign, there are other simple ways you can ensure patrons know your business is inclusive.

Hang a rainbow flag — as big or small as you'd like — in an area where people will spot it. (They're not just for Pride month, after all. Leave 'em up 365 days a year.)

Let it be known that your restrooms are inclusive of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people. And if your business has only one or two restrooms, why needlessly assign a gender to one or either of them when the facilities can be explicitly all-gender?

Write messages affirming your belief in equality on message boards, menus, and/or customer-facing pamphlets. If you have a space where the community leaves event flyers, include your own LGBTQ-affirming flyers or signs as well. Small but meaningful steps like these can make a difference — not just politically, but on an individual level, too. If you want LGBTQ people to know they're accepted and welcome in your business, speak up!

Vocal allyship is critical in the fight for fairness. Let it be known that you stand for equality.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."