Portland Area Business Association
Your LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce

The PDX Trans Works Project envisions a world where transgender and nonbinary (TNB) people are empowered to build the careers and businesses of their dreams. It is a project housed within PABA, Portland’s LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, and meets quarterly. The Project centers services and support around the most vulnerable and invisible TNB Portlanders and holds itself accountable to TNB communities through ongoing community listening sessions, and the establishment of a TNB-focused business advisory council.

The project will achieve its goal by meeting the following objectives:

  1. Expand the TNB Business Advisory Council. The Council exists to hold the PDX Trans Works Project accountable to meet the needs of local TNB communities. Members are local business and community leaders. The Council is committed to balancing its membership with 75% TNB people and 25% allies. At least 30% of total membership will come from marginalized communities. If the Council does not comply with these metrics, it shall make an annual contribution of $750 to a local nonprofit that supports marginalized communities in the area. The council meets quarterly.
  2. Develop a TNB Employer Index. A TNB employer index will be developed with the support of the Council. This index will evaluate employers on the implementation of TNB inclusive laws, policies, and workforce development initiatives. It will assess employers on things related to TNB recruitment, hiring events, marketing, and supplier diversity initiatives. It will also examine an employer’s workplace culture, leadership, policies, systems, and practices. The index will help TNB job seekers inform their decision-making when considering employment opportunities that best affirm, respect, and support their career development.
  3. Offer Career Development Support. The project connects TNB job seekers with support, resources, and mentorship helping them with transitioning on the job, entering a new field, determining the best path forward when navigating the potential of having to share gender histories with employers, and more. We are currently seeking resources to offer technical support to existing nonprofit organizations to help them offer TNB culturally specific career development workshops, training programs, and coaching opportunities.
  4. Deliver Business Development Boot Camps. The project empowers TNB entrepreneurs with business development boot camps that connect aspiring business owners with affirming resources offered by local SBDCs, SCORE, PSU, PABA, and other partnering organizations. We are currently seeking resources to offer technical support to existing organizations to offer culturally specific services to TNB community members.

Why is this Project Needed?

The PDX Trans Works Project exists to support the growing number of TNB people moving to Oregon by addressing the significant barriers to employment and entrepreneurship. Approximately 19,750 TNB people live in Oregon, and the number continues to rise given Oregon’s progressive human and civil rights laws.[1] Yet, even with these laws, policy change has not shifted the harsh realities many TNB Oregonians endure.

A snapshot of TNB Oregonians employment and entrepreneurship experiences reveal:

  • Thirty percent (30%) live in poverty, more than double the national average of 12%
  • Twelve percent (12%) are unemployed, more than double the national average of 5%
  • Four (4) times more likely than the general population to earn less than $10,000 a year
  • Eighty-three percent (83%) experience some form of mistreatment on the job.[2]

The Portland Metropolitan Area is the seventh largest when it comes to TNB people calling this area home.[3] As such, progressive leaders in this City have a responsibility and an incredible opportunity to build upon the leadership of other major West Coast cities sharing economic empowerment opportunities with some of the most vulnerable.

Let’s Make It Better – Get Involved!

Over the past year, PABA has co-sponsored a variety of community listening sessions to better understand the needs of local transgender and nonbinary employees (and those seeking employment) as well as communicating what we are learning through a number of panel discussions in the project’s inaugural year. We are in the process of seeking grant funding and corporate sponsorships to expand our reach and have a greater impact. If your organization is interested in supporting our work, please drop us an email at info@paba.org.

We also continue to build out our transgender and nonbinary business advisory council, and we especially encourage more trans & nonbinary folks of color, trans women, and allies who have the ability to add energy, capacity, and commitment to seeing this project succeed. If you have an interest in learning more, or if you have a strong background and commitment to economic justice and want to add your voice, please email us at info@paba.org.


PABA's mission is to serve the LGBTQ+ community and its allies by providing business and leadership development to expand economic opportunities for our membership.





PO Box 14744

Portland, OR 97208

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