I’ve heard it said, “Equality does not equal equity.” Equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights and opportunities. Equity is the security representing an ownership interest. In spite of all the gains with marriage equality, the fact remains that the LGBT community actually faces higher rates of poverty, homelessness and economic insecurity than the straight community. The likelihood of securing ownership interest and economic empowerment improves as poverty and homelessness declines and economic security improves.

As we dare to look to a future where marriage equality is the law of the land, what comes next? This is an important question and one that Affinity Inc Magazine considers in every issue. Our mission to promote and support LGBT business equality is at the core of the Equality versus Equity discussion. A seat at the proverbial table awaits the brave and courageous dreamers of a better future.

Of the more than 16 million LGBT people in this country, it is estimated that there are 1.4 million LGBT-owned businesses. That certainly represents a whole lot of optimism. We are charting new territory where the content of your character truly matters more than who you are or who you love. Equity means standing up, being counted — and counted on — while owning your very own piece of the American dream.

In this issue, we recognize the 2015 Top Corporations for LGBT Economic Empowerment. We have selected 85 companies that have demonstrated their commitment to LGBT equality within their organizations and in the communities they serve. Our 2015 Affinity Inc Magazine editorial will include even more coverage of these organizations and how they are realizing the economic benefits of inclusion.

U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet has enacted significant changes in the area of access to capital. In 2015, the “Smart. Bold. Accessible. SBA,” as Contreras-Sweet refers to it, will assist the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in connecting LGBT-owned businesses with all the SBA has to offer.

On the international front, the United Nations — a diverse and inclusive workplace — has been elevating the discussion of LGBT rights to the global stage since 2008, when an unspoken taboo on the topic was lifted. Jeffery O’Malley, director of global policy and strategy at UNICEF, shares his personal experience as a long-time employee of the UN.

Bob Witeck of Witeck Communications reminds us that the LGBT business community must be visible in order to be counted or even counted on in his piece about the future of the LGBT economy.

Finally, the Affinity Inc Gallery includes coverage of events celebrating LGBT progress in the business world. Ultimately, LGBT economic empowerment depends on building the unified voice of the LGBT business equality community. We will be heard!