We know that even before same-sex marriages were legalized, the partnerships in the making of those marriages were legitimate. The same goes for LGBTQ professionals and their impact on the economy at large. Although US law is still horrendously snide regarding workplace equality standards, LGBTQ professionals are standing tall on their own two feet, helping pull the US economy out of the muck.
And they’re doing so with enormous momentum. Married same-sex couples are now recognized as one of the strongest economic demographics in America – with their households showing a 24 percent increase in average annual income over non-gay households. In 2011, same-sex marriage itself boosted New York’s economy by $259 million. And marriage aside, within the business sector, openly LGBTQ managers and executives lead companies with 35% higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction, giving these companies a wider profit margin with partners and clients. Still more, LGBTQ entrepreneurship is on the rise due to employee discrimination in many workplaces – building a strong network of LGBTQ startups, experienced business owners and angel investors.
The LGBTQ community, has a double whammy success factor of a united. Self-aware, value-driven social identity and a powerful (and growing) professional standard.
This success model begs the question: how does the social unity of a demographic affect its ability to make high-level professional relationships both in and out of its demographic, as well as have a positive impact on business and the economy at large?
It boils down to the power of connection in the LGBTQ community, which recently taught the business world a huge lesson. Business is all about connection – especially when a community of businesses and entrepreneurs has clear-cut brands to create broad, lasting professional relationships. Merry Carole Powers, CEO of Branding Powers International and a leader in socially-conscious advertising, notes: “Within any brand, personal or professional, one man or multi-conglomerate, there is the golden opportunity to create a double bottom line: An operating system that measures success by both the money you make for your company and the difference you make in your world.”
So let’s think about this for a minute. The LGBTQ community collectively embodies a brand that leverages their success professionally: Cultivating equal rights in a world that continues to discriminate against LGBTQ people. With social justice as a hallmark of their collective brand, LGBTQ professionals set themselves up for a huge window of partnerships and opportunities from partners both in and out of their community. Plainly, social justice is a pretty inarguable ethical stance. It’s been a catalyst for monumental movements in US history. And in an age where businesses are partnering with causes for social good, conscious consumers prefer to support it. So, as the LGBTQ community continues to build high-level connections between LGBTQ-friendly workplaces, successful entrepreneurs and startups, it makes social justice a very powerful force in business and opens the door for continued, conscious consumer support.
Moreover, LGBTQ professionals are causing some of our largest corporations, businesses and economic trends to grow and meet their demand for social justice. Over two hundred companies in the US now openly take a stance to support same-sex marriage. Starbucks, Amazon and Apple, directly correlate their support of the LGBTQ community with their advocacy of social justice, which allows them to remain competitive as forward-thinking humanitarians, socially and professionally.
Overall, the LGBTQ community, through its slow but steady triumph over discriminatory laws and its already high and increasing capacity for professional success, has introduced a new way to drive 21st Century business forward. The LGBTQ community’s innate humanitarianism is a godsend to an economic climate built on social mistrust – and a promise for continued growth in all aspects of society.