In an economic crisis everything might seem gloomy. With constant reports of businesses failing, stock plummeting and uncertainty rising around the world, it can seem like there is no up-side to the economic situation.

 Although it might seem like a small concession, I would like to point out one way in which you can take this as an opportunity to support equality. I know, it seems far-fetched, but hear me out…

It is widely accepted that the LGBT communities have what is commonly referred to as “larger disposable income”.

It does actually make sense. You see, fewer of us accidentally have kids, we don’t then need a bigger house, another car, and work three jobs between us to save up for our kids to go to college. Sure, some gay folks do, and many of them love it, but most of us have more money than the average straight person in a long-term relationship.

So in times when the economy is more than a little sluggish, our spending actually matters more. While the straight couple next door can no longer afford to order takeout every Sat night, we probably still can. This makes our money more important, and spending it more carefully in support of gay-friendly business – or refusing to give it to questionable businesses – holds far more power and influence than it has done throughout the prosperous years.

Our “disposable” money has become more valuable to businesses who have been far from friendly to the gay citizen, and now is the perfect time to make our presence known to those businesses who have not cared for us in the past.

So how can you make even more of an impact?

Quite simply you can know about some of the biggest offenders when it comes to gay rights and equality.

For example, did you know that A-1 Self Storage is owned by The Caster Companies – with 40 business premises, primarily in California – and that the owner Terry Caster donated $693,000 to the “Yes on 8” campaign, openly stating that gay marriage would result in a “sick society”?

How about ExxonMobil, who actively REMOVED domestic-partner benefits for their employees when the companies merged, and now refuses to recognize discrimination based on sexual orientation unless demanded by law. This is policy that they actively refuse to implement, not simply something that they don’t believe is necessary.

Even better than that, how about Wal-Mart? In 2008, Wal-Mart abandoned all participation in the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce when threatened by Christian Conservative organizations with a boycott. In addition, Wal-Mart refuses to provide domestic partner benefits unless required under state law, and even refuses to stock any literary titles related to any LGBT issues, despite being the largest retailer of literature in America.

There are numerous examples of large corporations and smaller businesses who have deliberately obstructed efforts to make society more equal, and now is the perfect opportunity to show them how much we haven’t appreciated them dragging their knuckles on the ground.

It’s not actually that hard, simply pick any company that you support and run a quick Google search for pages which discuss them and gay rights issues. There are thousands of bloggers and forums out there where the offending companies are listed and their offenses debated.

We all make decisions when we support companies – or at least we should. Now is the perfect time to make your voice heard and only support the companies that support your rights and the rights of your LGBT community.