Countries with anti-LGBTI laws are not only failing on human rights, they are also missing out on billions of tourism and investment dollars, according to a new economic report that activists will use to fight for reforms.
The Economic Cost of Homophobia report was published this week by human rights advocacy group the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Gay Star News has reported.
Veteran LGBTI rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said the foundation focused on economics for the report because it would increase the impact when lobbying to end anti-LGBTI laws on human rights grounds.
“We found that in many countries, sadly governments were not listening to the human rights arguments,” Tatchell said.
“So we reasoned that perhaps they might be more open to economic persuasion.
“Where we have tried the economic argument, we’ve found more traction.”
Gay-friendly countries—including Australia—unsurprisingly attract the majority of the world’s LGBTI travel market.
LGBTI travel is valued at $211 billion and increasing.
Tatchell said the foundation planned to distribute the report to activists globally, to support their efforts to have homophobic laws overturned.
“We’re going to be sending out copies to LGBTI organisations around the world, particularly those countries that still criminalise homosexuality,” he said.
“If we can get influential business people in homophobic countries to recognise that anti-LGBT laws and prejudice are bad for business, they can become local advocates for decriminalisation within their own countries.”
Same-sex relationships are still illegal in 72 countries around the world, primarily in southern and east Africa, the Middle East, and south Asia.
The Tatchell Foundation report says that smaller, developing countries are the most likely to have anti-LGBTI laws.
Within the Commonwealth, 70 per cent of nations have anti-gay laws in place.
Tatchell has just returned to the UK from Russia, where he was arrested during the soccer World Cup for protesting against Russia’s complacency in Chechen persecution of LGBTI people.