Out Leadership Reacts to LGBTQ+ Americans Living in a State of Emergency

NEW YORK CITY, NY – Todd Sears, founder and CEO of Out Leadership, the premier global LGBTQ+ organization harnessing the power of business to drive equality, today reacted to the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) first-ever declaration of a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans with the following statement:

“LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency every day – and it is a result of the anti-LGBTQ+ climate rising to an all-time high in many states across the country. The introduction of over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills attacking our community has economic, talent and human consequences for LGBTQ+ Americans and their families, which directly impacts a business’s ability to conduct business in a state.

“Our State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index measures sustained and considerable growth in corporate investment in places where LGBTQ+ rights are embraced. In the five years we have been ranking states, the anti-equality sentiment is responsible for an overall negative (-1.14) decline in where LGBTQ+ Americans feel safe, conduct business activity, experience life and build families.

“Despite corporations trending decisively towards equality for the last decade, the political polarization across the nation in a pocket of states now threatens the progress for LGBTQ+ citizens in those states, and harm’s the overall health of their state economies – and eventually our national economy.

“Major companies today have fully embraced equality because it’s good for business, attracts the best talent, and is a long-term model for success. These multinational companies continue to relocate to places where they can recruit the best talent, not have to worry about state and local laws hindering their business’ ability to achieve success.

“Companies simply don’t want to be at odds with the business policies and practices of the state they operate in, and they certainly don’t want to feel attacked by them.”

Out Leadership recently released its annual State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index ranking all 50 states on the best and worst states for LGBTQ+ equality. The index finds that “overall, the state of LGBTQ+ access and equality in the U.S. is regressing” largely due to over 500 anti-equality bills introduced and passed this legislative cycle. For the first time in the Index’s history, the average ranking for all 50 states resulted in a net negative: – 1.14

Sears also recently commented on the economic and job losses in Florida as a result of the feud between Gov. DeSantis and Disney, and Target’s decision to remove LGBTQ+ merchandise from its stores.

Out Leadership research shows:

  • The 2023 State Business Climate Index rankings – the biggest surprises, movers, shakers and declines in LGBTQ+ equality and access of all 50 states.
  • Discriminatory policies create unnecessary risk in the market for profit-maximizing businesses to operate. When North Carolina passed HB2, Out Leadership joined a coalition of investors representing $2.1 trillion in assets to oppose the discriminatory law. The consequences of HB2 cost North Carolina over $395 million.
  • States that discriminate repulse top talent, alienate consumers, discourage investment, and prevent educators from equipping the next generation of workers.
    • 24% of LGBTQ+ workers have already moved to a different city because of its attitudes toward LGBTQ+ people
    • 36% of LGBTQ+ workers consider moving to a more inclusive state to live and work.
  • Prospective  college students are shunning Florida over its anti-LGBTQ stances.
    In 2021, when Texas banned certain banks that took political stances on guns and fossil fuels from underwriting municipal bonds, the reduction in competition cost Texas taxpayers an additional $500 million dollars in interest in just eight months. Texans paid heftily for the cost of discrimination.

For interviews with Todd Sears of Out Leadership, please contact Kristofer Eisenla at kristofer@lunaeisenla.com


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