Out Leadership today issued a statement in support of Indian Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley, who has announced his opposition to the country’s law banning homosexual acts between men.
“We enthusiastically welcome Finance Minister Jaitley’s comments calling for official reconsideration of Section 377, a colonial-era statute that has no place in today’s world,” said Todd Sears, Principal of Out Leadership. “Minister Jaitley is charged with managing one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies, so it’s encouraging to see that he recognizes Section 377 as disastrous policy. Time and again, studies have demonstrated that discrimination against LGBT people is a drag on national economic output, negatively impacting bottom lines and discouraging foreign investment. We applaud Minister Jaitley for taking a position that prioritizes prosperity over popularity.”
Speaking at the Times LitFest in New Delhi over the weekend, Minister Jaitley criticized a recent Indian Supreme Court decision upholding the law, known as Section 377, saying that it “was not correct and, probably at some stage, they may have to reconsider.” Jaitley noted that the court’s viewpoint would have been more relevant half a century ago.
LGBT discrimination has a significant and negative economic impact on the Indian economy. According to the World Bank, homophobia in India could cost up the Indian economy up to $30.8 billion annually.
The World Bank figures do not account for the effects discrimination against LGBT people has on education, foreign investment, skilled-labor emigration, or workforce participation.
“Estimating conservatively, there are anywhere from 30 to 50 million LGBT people in India. Discriminatory laws like Section 377 prevent them from participating fully in the economy and limit the country’s growth in myriad ways,” continued Sears. “Wall Street and the world’s most innovative companies are already making inclusion a priority – because it gives them access to the talent of Out Leaders. Repealing 377 will create an immediate Return on Equality for India.”