While LGBT citizens of the United States only recently gained the right to marry, they still suffer injustices on home soil. These occurrences are disheartening for LGBTQ people and supporters, but the situation becomes even worse outside America in countries with extremely harsh penalties against any non-heterosexual individual.
As a response to the discrimination faced worldwide by their LGBTQ workers, 12 corporations are taking a stand with the Human Rights Campaign and forming a coalition to improve the lives of LGBT people around the globe, but especially in countries besides the U.S. and Western Europe, where these individuals face legal harassment on a daily basis.
Companies Offer Benefits and Protections to LGBTQEmployees
The companies joining the coalition include Coca-Cola Co., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., AT&T Inc., IBM and more. Together, these 12 companies employ approximately 1.4 million people around the world and produce almost $550 billion in revenue. While many of the companies involved have been strong supporters of LGBTQ rights for years, offering same-sex partner benefits ages ago, corporate America has not yet made a strong push to fight for the ability of their employees to enjoy the same rights in other countries. This coalition is the start of that change however, which will hopefully contribute to future improvement of LGBTQ individuals’ quality of life around the world.
Recent Setbacks Concerning LGBTQ Rights
At this point, Saudi Arabia is well known for its repression of its LGBTQ people. The country has made all “homosexual activity” illegal and will punish those who violate the law with something as insignificant as a fine to publicly beheading them. The UN recently announced its “global goals” proposition, which is a list of targets all 193 countries should aim at implementing. Saudi Arabia would not agree to the bill until all references to LGBTQ equality were removed from the document. Saudi Arabia is a country strictly governed by Islamic law, which
recognizes any non-heterosexual activity as sin, punishable by death if so decreed.
76 UN states still have laws that either criminalize LGBTQ people or encourage harassment and discrimination. Violence against LGBTQ communities in Russia, Uganda, Sudan, and Nigeria have increased in recent years and show no signs of stopping. Even though the countries claim justification of the harassment due to the fact that homosexuality is not traditional in their cultures, the UN’s official stance is that the right to determine individual sexuality and gender identity is an inherent human right.
How Will the Coalition Help?
The newly formed coalition plans to provide all members with a platform to discuss the issues that present themselves in the individual countries in which each company operates. Together they will form ideas and plans of action on how to create LGBTQ-friendly environments even though the country in which the office is located does not provide these individuals with any legal protections. Though work is still left to be done on the LGBTQ rights front at home in the U.S., these companies believe taking a global stance is an effective way to encourage worldwide advancement of freedom for all, regardless of orientation.