The New Case for LGBT Rights: Economics

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By M.V. Lee Badgett
November 25, 2014
TIME Ideas

What’s the secret to convincing the world to back a movement? Figure out how it could impact the global bottom line.

Economic reasoning is part of what propelled the modern women’s empowerment movement. And now, it’s informing an emerging argument for LGBT inclusion: Unequal treatment of LGBT people, as it turns out, can cause economic harm, leading to lower economic output for individuals, businesses, and even countries. And on the flip side, inclusive policies can boost a country’s GDP.

This argument is taking shape as treatment for LGBT people is deteriorating or stagnating in many places around the world. In Egypt last month, eight men were sentenced to three years in jail after showing up in a video of what looked like a “gay marriage” to Egyptian officials. Over the last year or so, countries as diverse as Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, and Brunei have implemented new laws that increase penalties for homosexuality or for supporting rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Anti-LGBT arrests, discrimination, harassment, and violence are pervasive – cropping up in schools, workplaces, health care facilities, and within families.

For Full Op-Ed, which was originally published in New America’s digital magazine, The Weekly Wonk, click here.

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