Countries with anti-LGBTIQ laws are sacrificing billions of dollars in potential tourism and investment, according to a new report.
The Economic Cost of Homophobia report, published by advocacy group The Peter Tatchell Foundation, also argues that the countries are also sacrificing the economic power of their own LGBTIQ citizens.
The global LGBTIQ travel market is valued at $211bn, according to the report, with “gay-friendly” countries dominating that figure.
The top destinations for the world’s LGBTI holidaymakers are Australia, Canada, France, the UK and the US, all of which are LGBTIQ-friendly.
The report argues that a nation’s LGBTIQ community can “make a very valuable contribution to the economy,” but that potential is “negatively affected through limits placed on their freedoms.”
The Foundation says the report “doesn’t gloss over the human rights abuses endured by hundreds of millions of LGBT+ people worldwide but conclusively proves that discriminating nations have yet another reason, apart from human decency, to repeal unjust, outdated and unnecessary laws.”
British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told Gay Star News they’d focused on the economic impact of anti-gay laws because it had given activists greater traction than trying to advocate on human rights alone.
“We found that in many countries, sadly governments were not listening to the human rights arguments,” Tatchell told Gay Star News.
“We reasoned that perhaps they might be more open to economic persuasion.”
Seventy-one countries worldwide still criminalise same-sex relationships, and 70 percent of Commonwealth nations still have anti-LGBTIQ legislation in place.
“We’re going to be sending out [the report] to LGBTI organisations around the world, particularly those countries that still criminalize homosexuality,” Tatchell said.
“If we can get influential business people in homophobic countries to recognise that anti-LGBT laws and prejudice are bad for business, they can become local advocates for decriminalization within their own countries.”
Tatchell has just returned from Moscow, where he was arrested during the FIFA World Cup for protesting Russia’s inaction on reported LGBTIQ persecution in Chechnya.