Stopping homophobia saves your own wallet

Bloodied gay flag

Is there any doubt that fearing LGBT people is bad? After all it doesn’t take a genius to understand that, when people prefer suicide to being discriminated against, the hate toward non-normative sexualities must be stopped. But of course my readers already agree with this. The problem lies elsewhere, like in countries like Uganda or Russia where being gay is officially a crime; it lies in “civilized” nations where the one job available to transgendered people is prostitution; it lies in cultures and religions that force any alternative sexual inclination to be kept closeted for fear of social ousting or even lynching.
No matter what belief system causes the homophobia, anyone who ever tried to reason with a hater knows how close to impossible it is to change his mind using logic and factual information. In his bigot world view, “they” are out to destroy civil society – possibly raping a bunch of innocent children and pet animals along the way. Hence gays and other “immoral” people must be fought back, especially considering that  «they are just a social cost anyway». In fact, homophobics can’t see any advantage in a more diverse society. But what if they did?

About ten days ago the World Bank Organization, an international financial institution whose mission is to reduce poverty all over the globe and especially in developing countries, held a game-changing conference about the cost of homophobia. I won’t go into the statistical details you can better learn about from the video below, but the key fact is shocking: LGBT discrimination costs a nation 0.1 to 1.7% of its GDP, an economic impact on par with a major financial crisis. More specifically, the figure is calculated on the roughly 10% loss of productivity caused by wage disparity, health issues, less access to education, cultural pressures and other issues experienced by discriminated LGBT people. In other words, if they could just live as serenely as the others, they would study and work more, creating more value for themselves and their country.
The most efficient objection to hate culture is then very personal: is clinging to your unfounded phobias really worth living in a poorer country? Seen from this perspective, the matter is bound to make even the most closed-minded person think twice. I strongly suggest you to watch the video even if you don’t plan on debating anytime soon, as it contains both the main presentation and an extremely interesting data mining study on the actual size of the LGBT population, followed by a panel featuring international experts on the subject.

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