The relationship between LGBT people and GDP

A new study suggests that acceptance and strong protections for LGBT people promote economic growth in developing countries. The study, conducted by the U.S. Agency for International Development and UCLA’s School of Law, looked at 29 countries with varying records of treating LGBT people. The study concludes that countries that have decriminalized same-sex acts and enacted anti-discrimination laws have a per capita GDP of $1,763 more than countries that still discriminate.

A good reminder that LGBT equality isn’t just good for business — it’s good for the economy too.

Crashing the conventional wisdom of wealthy gays and lesbians

The conventional wisdom for many years has told us that LGBT people are flush with disposable income, and, therefore, spend more on things like clothes, home furnishings, and travel.

This may not be the truth. In a new report called “Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being LGBT in America” (PDF), the Movement Advancement Project. The report says legal discrimination, lack of family recognition, and hostile education environments have led to legal inequality for LGBT people, which …

results in lower incomes—for example, due to employment discrimination or the denial of family tax credits. This makes it harder for LGBT Americans to save for the future or cover basic necessities like rent, food, and clothing. In other cases, these same legal inequalities burden LGBT people with higher costs for needs like housing, healthcare, health insurance, and education.

Poor LGBT people are noticeably poorer than their straight counterparts. The study says that 21 percent of LGBT people earn less than $12,000 a year, compared to 17 percent of straight people. The figures are even worse and more disparate for transgender people: 15 percent of transgender people earn less than $10,000 a year, compared to 4 percent of the general population.

This report is an eye-opener. It means that advertisers need to look beyond the traditional LGBT categories to attract LGBT customers. Many LGBT people, I suspect, are shopping at Walmart and eating at McDonald’s to save money. Those companies, and others like them, should reach out to LGBT customers and let them know that they’ll be treated with warmth and respect.