LGBTI discrimination costs Kenya up to $1.3 billion every year

Rainbow Pride at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya

LGBTI discrimination and a lack of rights is hurting the economy of Kenya, a new report states.

Open for Business is an organization which gathers companies from across the globe advocating the idea that inclusion and diversity benefit the economy.

The coalition released a report on the state of Kenya’s economy and their lack of LGBTI protections this month.

Overall, the report found that LGBTI discrimination costs Kenya between $181 million (€159 million) to $1.3 billion (€1.1 billion) per year.

This is about 0.2% to 1.7% of the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is also 30% of the government’s spending on education and 144% of its spending on health in 2018.

Three major factors

Open for Business identified three major factors affected by LGBTI discrimination that could improve the economy.

The first is lost money from LGBTI tourists. Due to the lack of rights and protections in the country, LGBTI tourists are less likely to travel Kenya. Open for Business estimates the country is losing out on $64 million (€56 million) to $140 million (€123 million) because of this.

They also note the service sector of Kenya’s economy, of which tourism dominates, takes up about 64% of the GDP.

The second factor is poor healthcare in the country, especially for those who are HIV positive. This costs Kenya about $1 billion (€880 million) and 1.4% of their GDP. It’s also more than the entirety of what the government spent on all other healthcare costs in 2018.

Furthermore, depression amongst LGBTI people in Kenya, is another critical issue.

Graphis showing HIV and depression rates in Kenya

HIV and depression rates in Kenya | Photo: Open for Business

Finally, the underemployment, wage gaps, and lower productivity of LGBTI employees due to discrimination is costing the country $105 million (€92 million) per year.

How inclusion improves an economy

Open for Business offers 27 different propositions in three categories about how discrimination — or a lack thereof — impacts the economy.

Under ‘economic performance’, they state how discrimination creates roadblocks in reaching global markets. For ‘business performance’, more diverse companies are also more likely to benefit from LGBTI people’s consumer habits.

Finally, ‘individual performance’ offers the final eight propositions, including motivation, in which employees working in diverse and open environments are more motivated than others.

The graphs below show trends between LGBTI inclusion and economies.

LGBTI inclusion is linked to rises in GDP

LGBTI inclusion is linked to rises in GDP | Photo: Open for Business report

Graph about ease of business and LGBTI inclusion

The World Bank also shows that LGBTI inclusion establishes an ease of business in a country | Photo: Open for Business report

Finally, the report also shows that cities’ with higher scores of LGBTI inclusion generally have higher rates of quality of living as well.

Graph showing LGBTI inclusion means a higher quality of living

LGBTI inclusion means a higher quality of living | Photo: Open for Business report

This is an especially critical report at this time, as Kenya’s High Court postpones making a decision on decriminalizing homosexuality. They were supposed to give their ruling on 22 February but instead moved it to 24 May.

See also

UN moves LGBTI refugees to safe houses in Nairobi after Kenyan camp attacks

These statistics prove Illinois is a dream destination for LGBTI people

Newspaper accused of blaming ‘rise of gays’ for the stagnant economy

Author: Anya Crittenton

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Anti-gay Singapore is leaving LGBTI people without a home

Pink Dot 2018

LGBTI Singaporeans are struggling to find somewhere to live in one of the world’s most affluent cities.

Conservative attitudes centered on a heteronormative family can push LGBTI Singaporeans from their family home.

What’s more, while Singapore’s government provides generous subsidized housing, it effectively excludes LGBTI individuals.

Finally, without anti-discrimination legislation to protect individuals in the private renting market, LGBTI tenants are at risk from homophobic or transphobic landlords.

The situation facing LGBTI house-hunters reflects wider hostility towards the community in Singapore. Section 377A of Singapore’s colonial-era Penal Code criminalizes gay sex with up to two years in prison.

A recent survey found more than half of Singapore’s population support the draconian legislation.

Singapore lawyer Indulekshmi Rajeswari told the Property Guru that the government had often stated its intention to ‘encourage [heteronormative] families’.

Pushed out

According to Singapore’s 2016 National Youth Council Survey, 97 percent of unmarried young people live with their parents.

But, conservative families often push LGBTI youngsters out of the family home.

A local Facebook page of queer confessions receives many messages from LGBTI youngsters ejected from their homes.

Most, with nowhere to stay, end up crashing with friends.

Singaporean resident Kyle Malinda-White (Photo: Provided)

Singaporean resident Kyle Malinda-White (Photo: Provided)

Government housing

Singapore currently has the world’s second highest rate of home ownership. This is because of a generous government housing program.

The government allows young married heterosexual couples to apply for grants at the age of 21. But, the policy excludes LGBTI residents, according to Rajeswari.

‘Only those in a recognized family unit—primarily married heterosexual couples—are normally allowed to buy a HDB [government-assisted] apartment’ the expert said.

LGBTI individuals — even couples — are only eligible for single person schemes at the age of 35.

‘It has always been harder for LGBTI people’ Singaporean Kyle Malinda-White told Gay Star News. ‘Gay couples cannot apply for public housing’.

‘Renting is the only way out for now’ he said, who founded an app, Prout, to get LGBTI people socializing in the city-state.

But, Singapore has no anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBTI people.

Transgender Deveshwar Sham, who’s identification documents did not match his gender while he was transitioning, told Property Guru he had difficulty renting.

‘They don’t discriminate in front of us, or publicly, but they’ll say they already have a tenant,’ he told the website.

Author: Rik Glauert

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Virginia LGBTI rights group launch employment equality awareness campaign

Equality Virginia

An LGBTI rights group in Virginia has launched a new awareness campaign about the discrimination sexual minorities experience in the state.

Equality Virginia’s month-long campaign will erect billboards throughout the state.

The billboards will read: ‘Someone you know is gay . . . They can be fired for who they are.’

This is a reference to the fact that it’s legal in Virginia to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

‘It is still legal to discriminate against people simply because they’re gay or transgender’

The campaign is designed to combat the lack of protections for LGBTI people in the state.

There is no anti-discrimination legislation protecting LGBTI people in employment or housing in Virginia, the Washington Blade reports.

Past moves to introduce anti-discrimination bills have received bipartisan support in the state’s Senate.

However, none of the bills have made it past the House of Delegates, as Republican leadership has resisted calls to hold a vote.

‘Many people are surprised to learn that it is still legal under our state’s laws to fire a hardworking employee, deny them an apartment, and otherwise discriminate against people simply because they’re gay or transgender,’ said Equality Virginia’s Executive Director, James Parrish.

‘The goal of this year’s campaign is to increase understanding of the lack of legal protections these communities face and demonstrate the toll discrimination takes on LGBT Virginians and their families,’ Parrish added.

Inherent optimism

Equality Virginia is working in conjunction with fellow LGBTI rights group the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

‘Over the past several elections, Equality Virginia and HRC have worked to elect pro-equality champions at every level of Virginia’s state government,’ HRC said in a statement on their website.

Despite the difficulties in the past, the group remains optimistic about the future outlook.

‘The good news is, support for equality has grown by leaps and bounds and people from all walks of life have come to understand that we all have LGBT loved ones, coworkers, and friends,’ Parrish concluded.

Despite the poor record of LGBTI anti-discrimination laws, the state made history in November 2017, when trans woman Danica Roem was elected to the House of Delegates District 13 seat.

Roem’s victory was the first time in US history a trans woman had been elected to state office.

Author: Calum Stuart

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