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The Financial Cost of LGBTQ Discrimination

LGBTQ Discrimination Didn’t End June 26th, 2015

If you live in a place that affords legal protections to our community, you may not realize the extent of the LGBTQ discrimination that goes on in other areas of the country. There are 29 states that do not consider sexual orientation as a protected class, and three states go so far as to prohibit municipalities from passing non-discrimination protections. Not only do the LGBTQ members of these communities feel they cannot be themselves, they fear for their safety.

Ending LGBTQ discrimination

How do you convince a conservative legislature to introduce laws that would protect our community? The most effective strategy seems to be the economic argument—making the case that talent, opportunities, and billions of dollars are lost because of discriminatory state policies. And the best way to present that argument is through a coalition of businesses who value diversity and inclusion.

Listen to Ohio Business Competes on Queer Money™:

Alana Jochum is the executive director of Equality Ohio and a board member of Ohio Business Competes, a no-cost, nonpartisan coalition of businesses that advocate for laws to protect the LGBTQ community in Ohio. Today she explains why so many young people are leaving the state, the power of the ‘business voice,’ and why discriminatory policies persist despite widespread support for LGBTQ protections. Alana discusses the approach used by Ohio Business Competes and the economic disadvantages businesses face in states without protections. She shares several of the challenges the LGBTQ community faces in suburban and rural areas, offering stories of LGBTQ discrimination endured by Ohioans with no legal recourse. Listen in and learn what you can do to support the cause through organizations like Ohio Business Competes, promoting legal and lived equality throughout the US.

Topics Covered about LGBTQ discrimination

Ohio Business Competes’ purpose to end LGBTQ discrimination

  • Build out nonpartisan coalition of businesses
  • Advocate for laws that protect LGBTQ community
  • Employment, housing, public accommodations

Why young people leave states like Ohio

  • Seen as hostile, no way to raise family there
  • 70% of millennials value LGBTQ protections

How businesses can influence state legislators

  • Businesses of all sizes value LGBTQ protections
  • Push for laws that align with company policies

Why we’re still facing LGBTQ discrimination despite widespread support of our community

  • 8 of 10 Ohioans don’t realize it’s not already law
  • Marriage equality created perception of LGBTQ as protected class

The challenges of LGBTQ discrimination for people outside of metropolitan areas

  • Overt hostility in many suburban, rural areas
  • Three states prohibit non-discrimination ordinances altogether
  • Only 20% of Ohioans have access to recourse
  • Fear for fundamental safety, ability to provide for family

The dual purpose of Ohio Business Competes

  • Offensive—voice support of bills that offer protections (e.g.: HB16)
  • Defensive—mobilize, oppose discriminatory legislation (i.e.: ‘bathroom bills’)

The economic argument for LGBTQ protections

  • $3.76B lost business in NC
  • Business argument speaks to conservatives
  • Purchasing power of LGBTQ community
  • Convention planners avoid states without protections
  • LGBTQ conferences, events become hard-sell

Stories of LGBTQ discrimination in Ohio

  • Job ‘no longer available’ to woman once perceived as transgender
  • Transgender woman denied opportunity to purchase home
  • Hours cut, undesirable shifts, not called to work

Other organizations fighting to end LGBTQ discrimination like Ohio Business Competes

  • Texas Competes integral in stopping ‘bad bills’
  • Several states using coalition-style advocacy model
  • Not coordinated at national level

What you can do to help end LGBTQ discrimination

  • Get the message out regarding economic impact
  • Google ‘LGBTQ equality’ and ‘business’ for organizations in your state
  • Support equality organizations, local centers through charitable giving
  • Give to national groups like Equality Federation, Human Rights Campaign

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