What the Increase in LGBTQ+ Identification Means for the Economy

Recently, America has seen an increase in the amount of people identifying as LGBTQ+. At least 1 in 6 adults in Gen Z consider themselves as LGBTQ+, and with each younger generation, there are more and more people who identify as LGBTQ+. So, what does this mean for the US economy?  Overall, the inclusion of LGBTQ+ community leads to economic growth within businesses, cities, and the country as a whole because the LGBTQ+ community has positive effects on tourism, economic growth, and diversity. 

Diversity leads to economic growth in businesses, and this can be linked to tourism as well. According to an article about cultural diversity’s effect on the economy, cultural diversity can result in an increase in population, which enables a community to compete on larger economic scales. This means more tourists which means more income for businesses. “The economic benefits of cultural diversity and how it works to the economy to benefit tourism, education, innovation, and global linkages.” To further prove that diverse cultural groups help the economy specifically to LGBTQ+ culture is that businesses who support LGBTQ+ experience more growth. For example, an article by the Harvard Business Review says that because of the shift of public opinion to accept LGBTQ+ relationships, cities have increased ability for corporate investments. “In a 2016 poll, 50% of American meeting planners said they would avoid planning events in states that pass anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.” 

Businesses should strive to improve their brand by increasing cultural diversity in the workplace, and this doesn’t fall short for the LGBTQ+ community. An example of how excluding the LGBTQ+ community can negatively impact businesses and the surrounding area includes when Texas approved the bathroom bill legislation, they lost $3.3 billion in tourism and 35,600 jobs.  Another example includes when Mike Pence signed a religious exemption bill that would’ve allowed businesses to turn away LGBTQ+ customers and employees. The result of this was the loss of 12 business conventions worth $60 million.

We’ve learned that LGBTQ+ inclusion can help businesses to be successful, but it can also benefit developing countries. In a study conducted by UCLA, it was found that LBTQ+ people in emerging economies are positively associated with economic development. “Human rights violations experienced by the LGBTQ+ people diminish economic output and capacity at the micro-level.” 

Identity affects economic decisions, and individual economic decisions are a catalyst for economic growth because individuals are behind every factor of production: labor, entrepreneurship, capital, and land. Therefore, LGBTQ+ identity has a significant impact on microeconomics. How does the increase in inclusivity of the LBTQ+ community benefit individuals? As said by M.V. Lee Badgett, the author of The Economic Case for LGBT Equality, discrimination doesn’t only affect the discriminated, but also other individuals, the local economy, and even global and national economies. As shown in this article that references The Economic Case for LGBT Equality they also show how it affects individuals. Discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community negatively affects education, work, and health. In an article by Lucy Wescott in the Atlantic, they describe a study done to determine the economic cost of homophobia, and they found that the cost ranges from 0.1 to 1.7 percent of a country’s GDP. “For the world’s LGBT population, homophobia can lead to loss of employment, workplace or educational discrimination, poor health, and poverty.” Overall, the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community benefits businesses, governments, local and national economies, and individuals. Negative response to the LGBTQ+ community results in negative outcomes.

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