Chicago Studies Set-Aside Contracts for Gay and Transgender-owned Businesses

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s move to study whether gay- and transgender-owned businesses should get city contracting set-asides similar to those for minority- and women-owned companies advanced Tuesday despite black aldermen’s concerns about how such status can be verified and that it could mainly benefit white men.

Lightfoot’s resolution seeks to “gather information to determine whether there is a need for a citywide program to promote opportunities in the City’s procurement process for (LGBT-owned Business Enterprises).” It calls for a yearlong study by the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois to determine the next steps.

Lightfoot was supportive of the idea of set-asides during her mayoral campaign. But on Tuesday, aldermen in the Committee on Contracting Oversight and Equity raised questions, pointing to Chicago’s history of fraud in the existing contracting programs meant to benefit minority- and women-owned firms.

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