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Cost of the Closet

The United States recognized the rights of the LGBTQ on December 15, 2011. It appointed an independent investigator to protect homosexuals and transgenders from discrimination across all nations. Yet, even in a perpetually changing and adaptable world, there remains a problem of maintaining the rights of the LGBTQ community at the workplace. Because of the social actors associated with every corporation, today, it becomes all the more important to provide these people with adequate opportunities of representation, helping the society to breakthrough this stigma.

Source – Eater

Corporations that donate to causes that promote anti-LGBTQ sentiments; further the deep- rooted discrimination against the community in our society. Similar was the case of Chick-fil-A Foundation which donated more than $1.8 million to three groups who were engaged in anti-LGBTQ discrimination in 2017. It donated millions to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Salvation Army, and Paul Anderson Youth Home. These organizations disapprove “homosexual acts”.

The comments of the CEO of Chick-fil-A Foundation, Dan Cathy, resulted in a PR Crisis and the foundation promised to stop donations. Following their footsteps were several companies who scored a zero in the Corporate Equality Index which is a Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard in 2019.

The nine corporations: AT&T, UPS, Comcast, Home Depot, General Electric, FedEx, UBS, Verizon, and Pfizer who scored a perfect zero in their scorecard as they confirmed to anti-gay sentiments in the Trump cabinet and denied basic amenities to transgenders. There are some who have opted out of these donations, but many corporations continue to do so.

Source – Active minds

These anti-LGBTQ agendas have far reaching consequences for the economy. These corporations miss out on delivering through diversity. They fail to address the cost of the closet. A diverse organization enables out-of-the-box thinking which fosters innovative ideas, improving products and services offered by it. Non-inclusivity leads to loss of productivity due to homophobia, leading to an unsuitable working environment and huge economic losses.

According to a research by McKinsey, companies with higher LGBTQ diversity have higher profits and more effective community interactions. The toll that homophobic comments and actions have on people of this community are not accounted for while calculating the losses to a corporation. Socio-emotional distress and mental illness are disproportionately high in this community as compared to heterosexuals. 

This is because of the continuous social discrimination and anticipation of possible rejection by family members, friends or by colleagues and managers at the workplace. Inadequate attention is a deterrent to the overall working of these organizations. Instead, companies should regularly organize workshops and seminars with prominent LGBTQ faces to make them aware of their rights, empowering them in the process.

Even today, majority of the corporations do not have same-sex benefits such as proper maternity leaves for the LGBTQ community, disrupting the work-life balance which they need in order to be an asset to that corporation. There are meagre support channels in terms of counselling and mentoring benefits that they require once they are out in public. A large talent pool is also lost as individuals from this community are not allowed to rise above certain positions in the organization, having a huge impact on an organization’s future prospects. 

Hence, it becomes difficult to recruit qualified candidates in their best-fit positions. Such laws help organizations seek government support and promote the mistreatment of the LGBTQ community.

Source – Harvard Business review

American lawmakers in almost 30 states passed around 100 anti-transgender bills that restrict the freedom of LGBTQ residents which was opposed by executives of four major companies. As business leaders, striving to make substantial impacts on the community, they should refrain from such actions and be dedicated to equal treatment, respect and opportunity for all. It willnot only improve the financial and investment climate across the globe but will also protect the freedom of the LGBTQ community.

Corporations should strive to have better representations from this community and extend support on a societal level by celebrating relevant events during the Pride Month. Only then, will they be able to reach and connect with a diverse target audience and improve their goodwill in the market.

Written by- Adrija Poddar

Edited by- Vatsal Patel

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