This week, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released its annual hate violence report, which tracks incidents of hate violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected Americans in 2015.
The report's findings were sobering: Not only has hate violence against LGBTQ people risen in the past year, but affected individuals are reporting those incidents less often.
This is obviously a moral, political and ethical concern for everyone. But, as a recent Twitter discussion illuminated, the continued persecution of LGBTQ people is also a threat to the country's economic well-being.
The Anti-Violence Project (AVP) spearheaded the "Twitter town hall" as an accompaniment to the report. It invited readers and members of the media to participate using the #Not1Story. AVP explained in an email to the participants, "We chose #Not1Story for this report because there is no single narrative of an LGBTQ hate violence survivor. We need a full picture—the full story—of what hate violence looks like for LGBTQ and HIV affected people if we are going to effectively address that violence moving forward."
Those using the hashtag answered questions posed by AVP, including "What are some of the ways LGBTQ & HIV-affected people experience hate violence that are rarely if ever talked about?" and "How can our stories as survivors & LGBTQ people counter discriminatory legislation like HB2 and others?" People spoke of fears of harassment and assault by police officers, and the different manifestations of hate violence against LGBTQ individuals.
One participant raised the point that violence against LGBTQ individuals doesn't only hurt the victims.
Romero is likely referring to a 2014 World Bank report on "The Economic Cost of Homophobia & the Exclusion of LGBT People," using India as a case study. The report found that a high estimate of the partial cost of homophobia in India, taking into account health problems that stem from lack of adequate care for LGBTQ individuals and labor discrimination, was $30.8 billion. A low estimate put the cost at $1.9 billion.
Legislation like the anti-trans bathroom bills cropping up across the country show the tangible financial impacts of homophobia and transphobia in the United States. North Carolina could lose $4.5 billion in Title IX funding for enacting laws that discriminate against certain public school students. And fighting against the Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage also has ramifications—Kentucky now owes $1.08 million to the lawyers who worked on the SCOTUS case.
The relationship between LGBTQ rights and financial health should not be particularly surprising. When people are discriminated against or attacked in the workforce, productivity goes down. When they're treated well, productivity rises. Lawmakers might want to keep that in mind when weighing the importance of protecting LGBTQ Americans.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.