LGBT+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s snapshot of the current state of affairs for LGBT+ people, through the lens of international business. The Business Climate Score score is out of ten possible points, and is based on ten independently verifiable indicators of the legal, cultural and business context for LGBT+ people.

6.5
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1.
Are consensual homosexual acts between adults legal?
1
Yes
2.
Are marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples available?
0
No relationship recognition
3.
Is being LGBT+ punishable by death?
1
No
4.
Are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment prohibited?
0.5
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited, but in practice many employees do not seek to enforce their rights due to fear of retaliation
5.
Can transgender people legally change their gender markers?
0.5
Yes, but surgery may be required and it’s an administratively difficult process
6.
Is sex reassignment surgery at birth for intersex children prohibited?
0
No
7.
Are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the provision of goods and services prohibited?
1
Yes
8.
Is there a US State Department warning against travel for LGBT+ individuals?
1
No
9.
Do companies sponsor Pride?
0.5
No - Global companies do, but local companies don’t.
10.
Are there laws prohibiting freedom of assembly or speech for LGBT+ people (i.e. “anti-propaganda laws”, media gags, etc.)?
1
No
Talking Points
  • Romania is increasingly viewed as a low-cost alternative for back-offices of other Romance-language countries, such as France, Spain and Italy. Improving Romania’s legal protections and equal treatment of LGBT+ individuals would enhance the country’s ability to attract and retain foreign direct investment.
  • Preemptive conservative religious efforts to amend the constitution to define “family” in a hetero-normative, LGBT+ exclusive way is a huge deterrent to my LGBT+ talent relocating there. Ensuring equal rights for LGBT+ in Romania is much more conducive to global investment of both money and staff.
  • Based on conservative estimates that 4-6% of the population identify as LGBT+, there are 780,000 – 1.2 million LGBT+ people in Romania. Enforcing anti-discrimination laws and opposing homophobia will ensure that all Romanians can participate openly and productively in the economy.
Talking Points
Impact of LGBT+ Discrimination on Business and Talent
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    NO RISK
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    LOW RISK
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    MODERATE RISK
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    NOTABLE RISK
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    HIGH RISK
BRAND RISK
  • 4
    NOTABLE RISK
Romania’s pervasive homophobia makes the decision to participate in mainstream marketing there look like an anti-LGBT+ decision to LGBT+ community members and allies.
CLIENT RISK
  • 4
    NOTABLE RISK
Broad cultural and political homophobia create a moderate to high risk that LGBT+ clients may feel alienated by business conducted in Romania.
TALENT RISK
  • 4
    NOTABLE RISK
Consensual same-sex relations are legal in Romania, but same-sex marriage is not, and Romanians overwhelmingly oppose it. This may affect recruiting and retention where LGBT+ talent may face discrimination. The recent decision to recognize same-sex partners of EU citizens with spousal benefits can help mitigate the situation in some cases, but it doesn’t protect citizens of non-EU nations.
MARKETING RISK
  • 4
    NOTABLE RISK
While same-sex relations are decriminalized and there are no legal penalties for marketing to LGBT+ individuals, broad cultural stigma against LGBT+ individuals makes marketing more difficult.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBT+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • — Bucharest, the capital of Romania, has hosted a gay pride parade since 2005, although some local and national leaders have at various points voiced disapproval. A record 10,000 people marched down the city’s main thoroughfare in June 2018. Bucharest’s pride parade is sponsored in part by Google and Accenture. Cluj, Romania’s second largest city, hosted its first pride parade in 2017, although there were reports of sporadic intimidation against participants by local residents.
  • — There are vocal LGBT+ organizations in the country, including MosaiQ and ACCEPT. The founder of MosaiQ has said that LGBT+ visibility is a crucial strategy they employ toward widening acceptance. LGBT+ events are regularly met with protests organized by rightwing Christian groups.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

  • — Although Romania, a member state of the European Union, provides broad legal protections for LGBT+ individuals under domestic and European Union law, Romania remains a deeply socially conservative country with strong influence from traditionalist stakeholders, such as the Romanian Orthodox Church.
  • — That church, like the Russian Orthodox Church, is strongly against LGBT+ rights and recognition. In addition, Russian and American religious organizations have provided material support to local religious groups to shape policy. In 2017, the US-based right-wing Christian ministry Liberty Council sent anti-LGBT+ Kentucky clerk Kim Davis on a speaking tour against marriage equality in the country.
  • — In a 2013 survey on discriminatory attitudes, roughly half of Romanian adults said they would not eat dinner with an LGBT+ person.
  • — Anecdotally there is a shift in attitudes toward LGBT+ equality among younger generations. In addition, Bucharest is typically more accepting of the LGBT+ community than other areas of Romania.
Local Leaders Advocating for Equality

Out Leadership encourages you and your company to engage in safe and cautious discussion with local leaders around LGBT+ equality and to leverage your firm’s influence to support their work.

To learn more about how your business can work toward influencing change in Romania for LGBT+ people, we recommend first contacting global organizations including: Human Rights Watch, OutRight Action International, and Amnesty International.

Local organizations working for LGBT+ equality in Romania include:

MosaiQ
Bucharest Pride