CHAN: Companies must advocate for LGBT rights everywhere in the world, not just where it’s easy

Ken Chan, Brock University Vice-President, Administration and Global Executive PhD student at ESCP Business School, had a piece recently published in The Conversation about actions corporations can take to advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in countries where they may face hostility or discrimination.

He writes:

“It has now become commonplace for major corporations to join in on LGBT events such as Pride Month, National Coming Out Day or the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Indeed, this is sometimes a source of criticism within the community as companies are perceived to be cashing in on LGBT causes.

In the United States, several hundred American corporations are part of a Human Rights Campaign business coalition which advocates in support of a bill in Congress that would provide legal protections to LGBT people.

But it is easy to forget that these demonstrations of support for LGBT customers and employees is restricted to certain countries. Corporate solidarity is rarely a privilege afforded to people living in countries where governments are hostile to the LGBT community.

This represents a large proportion of the world. According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, 69 countries currently criminalise consensual same-sex activities. In some countries, the penalty is death. For LGBT people in these hostile countries, including those who work at multinational corporations, coming out puts their lives in danger.

But multinational corporations that have a presence in hostile countries can use their economic influence and corporate resources to advance protections for LGBT people in the same way they champion equality in western countries.”

 Continue reading the full article here.

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