My Sister's Room

Source: Ellgeebe.com 

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Large and small, businesses around the world are taking a huge hit right now due to the coronavirus pandemic -- and much of that burden is being shouldered by the LGBT community.

According to a study by The Human Rights Campaign, LGBTQ workers are 30 percent more likely to have lost their jobs since the pandemic started, compared to the general population. For LGBTQ people of color, that number jumps to 80 percent.

In Atlanta, many LGBTQ businesses are doing everything they can to stay afloat. And they're finding the community is rallying around them to help.

The longest-running lesbian bar in the southeast is right here in Atlanta – and its owners are juggling to keep workers employed, keep customers safe and just keep doors open. 

“MSR has been around 24 years. The name is ‘My Sister's Room’ but everyone calls it MSR,” said Jami Maguire, one of the bar’s co-owners.

Though MSR is a “favorite destination for the queer community,” owners Jami and Jennifer Maguire say anyone is welcome.

“It doesn’t matter your color, orientation, labels. It’s a place to have a good time,” Jami said.

Good times at the bar came to an abrupt halt back in March as covid-19 brought the country to a standstill. MSR reopened in July, but business is much different. Masks are required, temperatures are checked, and capacity is reduced.

“We’ve really had to think outside the box and one of our more recent projects is to get licensed to show movies outside so we'll have the big projector and screen in the backyard, we do a movie night outside,” Jennifer said.

Tough times brought on by the coronavirus pandemic sparked creativity in some. William Duffe-Braun and Cory Klose recently created Valiant Marketing -- a digital marketing firm – after they were both laid off from their jobs amid the pandemic. 

“At the beginning of the pandemic we noticed the need for things like website design and social media were going up,” Duffe-Braun said.

Valiant Marketing

William Duffe-Braun and Cory Klose, owners of Valiant Marketing 

Source: Valiant Marketing Facebook 

Valiant Marketing is LGBT certified, meaning it keeps a certain percentage of business in the LGBTQ community.

“People were at a loss for what to do how to make ends meet, how to make it work so we felt that we were in a really special place to be able to offer services free of charge and help people start over and try new passion,” Klose said.

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