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LGBTQIA+ rights: An inclusive industry is a successful industry

2 minute read
Inclusivity: Shutterstock

Despite some high profile protests from anti-LGBTQIA+ activists, Pride Month continues to be a runaway success and the businesses that support equality, frankly, do better than those that don’t. 

54 years on from the Stonewall Riots, and as Pride Month comes to a close and parades start to celebrate inclusivity around the world, it’s a good time to take stock of where we are with LGBTQIA+ rights.

To be honest it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Despite those many parades and the widespread corporate support for the LGBTQIA+ community (despite accusations of ‘pinkwashing’), there are a lot of attacks on the hard won rights and equalities underway; everything from activists targeting high profile corporate supporters in the US to protests against Drag Queen Story Hour events in the UK.

But yet the Pride events persist and get bigger and bigger, inclusivity broadens with each passing year (the Progressive Pride Flag at the top of the article features recent additions for trans and intersex communities), and, as the World Economic Forum points out, several recent datapoints suggest that support for LGBTQ+ inclusion is growing, not declining, particularly among younger generations.

In the US, for example, 7.2% of all individuals identify as LGBTQ+, but this rises to 21% for Gen-Z individuals.

“The vicious anti-LGBTQ+ campaigns currently underway in many countries should be seen for what they are: a backlash against the long arc of progress towards equality,” it writes.

Current times can be uncomfortable for any minority community. But in the long run, these anti-inclusion campaigns are doomed to failure, and by simple economics as much as any thing else.

A recent Open for Business report came to three conclusions when it looked at inclusivity in the workplace:

  1. The evidence shows that open, inclusive and diverse societies are better for economic growth, and that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity can damage long-term economic prospects.
  2. Stronger financial performance flows from the increased ability of LGBT+ inclusive companies to attract and retain talent, to innovate, and to build customer loyalty and brand strength.
  3. Individuals working in open, diverse and inclusive environments tend to perform better. A culture of inclusion and diversity can boost individual performance – for everyone, not just LGBT+ individuals.

Inclusive companies perform better it’s as simple as that. And there’s a Darwinian evolution at work here, especially as new generations come through with a progressively more inclusive mindset. The non-inclusive corporate environments will eventually all disappear or shrink to the point of irrelevance.

That said, this is no time for complacency. Over to the WEF again: “The global LGBTQ+ community is up against well-organized and well-funded campaigns by the enemies of equality – an unholy axis of religious fundamentalist groups and populist conservative politicians. The stakes are high and business has a unique role to play. This is about more than Pride flags and rainbow logos. It’s about what it means to run a good business.”

And that’s about being an ally and a supporter to the LGBTQIA+ community all year, not just in June. 

By the way, regarding the flag? The arrow points to the right showing that progress is moving forward but is sited on the left to show that there’s still a long way to go before true equality is reached. 

Can I get an ‘Amen’ here? Damn right…

Tags: Business