“The world is much smaller if you’re gay,” Hugo Greenhalgh wrote in a Financial Times column last week. Laws that criminalize people for being LGBT are on the books in almost 80 countries, in effect limiting the number of places LGBT people can live openly and honestly without risking punishment at the hands of the state.
It is important for multinational companies in the globalized economy to understand that, in many jurisdictions, LGBT employees face heightened risks due to anti-LGBT laws and/or widespread homophobia and transphobia. To help address this issue, Out Leadership provides senior executives in our member companies with briefs outlining the LGBT-rights situation in various countries and providing talking points outlining the economic case for LGBT inclusion.
Unfortunately, while significant LGBT progress has been made in much of the world, in recent years a number of countries have taken purposeful steps in the other direction. The Ugandan parliament made international headlines after repeatedly trying to pass a “kill the gays” law, before eventually watering down the highest punishment for male homosexuality to life imprisonment. The situation has also deteriorated in Russia following the passage of the country’s “gay propaganda” law. Greenhalgh writes that, “When I was in and out of Russia in the early noughties, taxi drivers were happy to say which gay club was the best in [Moscow]. Now I wouldn’t dare ask.”