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Evidence suggests that countries with the most restrictive laws forfeit significant amounts of GDP. Stigmatizing and excluding LGBT people (we were unable to identify research specifically addressing the impact of Intersex exclusion) exacts serious economic costs. This is due not least to lost productivity and health disparities, and is particularly true in relation to HIV and mental health. Lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and intersex people are affected by discrimination and harassment at the schools and universities essential for developing professional skills, undermining “human capital” (the strengths of a workforce). Data is emerging that quantifies the cost of such exclusion. Research published by the economist M.V. Lee Badgett, the author of The Economic Case for LGBT Equality, for example, shows that homophobia and transphobia exact a cost equal to 1% or more of a country’s GDP. Meanwhile Erik Lamontagne, senior researcher at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, has found that homophobic laws and social norms could be exacting a toll of as much as $119.1 billion of global GDP - and his results only reflected homophobia against gay men and other men who have sex with men. Data from a 2018 report published by Open For Business, a coalition of companies dedicated to LGBT+ inclusion, show that the inclusion of sexual and gender minorities is a major factor in the growth of the most innovative cities, by signalling that they have a dynamic cultural life and are globally integrated places to do business. These aspects are significant, particularly given that cities typically play a leading role in global innovation and account for more than 80% of global GDP. It is widely believed that poverty and inequality are drags on GDP growth. Evidence suggests that sexual and gender minorities remain highly vulnerable to poverty, as they miss out on opportunities to gain skills and build experience. A pair of research reports published by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law suggested that LGBT employment discrimination costs South Africa more than $300 million per year, and that in a majority of US states LGBT people experience higher rates of poverty than cisgender straight people (people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth).

Economic Impact of LGBT Exclusion

KEY TRENDS

LGBTI Inclusion