Tourism is an alternative for LGBTQIA+ integration in the labor market

LGBTQIA+ Pride Month aims to bring reflections on the reality of the minority. The celebrations that mark the 30 days of June, around the world, represent the calls for equal rights† By mid-2022, however, diversity is not the everyday life of the community in the labor market and in politics, for example.

And this is happening even amid attempts by thousands of companies to implement a diversity agenda, especially when the topic ESG – an acronym in English used to refer to environmental, social and governance practices – is reaching its zenith.

According to the CEO of the agency for inclusion in the workplace Mais Diversidade, Ricardo Sales, the topic of diversity won the business world five years ago. But even with the recognition of the agenda’s importance to society and business growth, the paths still require effort.

The LGBTI+ population still suffers from different kinds of prejudice, but they affect each identity differently. We’ve made progress in the lesbian and gay work environment, but we still have a huge challenge when it comes to the inclusion of transgender people,” said Sales.

Sales adds that in that sense, ESG has accelerated change, especially in publicly traded companies. After all, these institutions must account to the market in their annual report.

More diverse companies are the gateway to innovation, creativity and the ability to attract and retain talent, as noted by the CEO of Mais Diversidade. While difficulties exist and inequality is still a point of contention, entrepreneurship encompasses spaces that must be safeguarded by government policies.

“Entrepreneurship often turns out to be the only alternative for population groups that are on the edge of the market,” says Sales.

Credit: Ricardo Sales/ CEO of Mais Diversidade

Entrepreneurship and the LGBTQIA+ Tourism Chamber

This is exactly the finding of Otávio Furtado, Director of Tourism at the Brazilian LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. For him, the community entrepreneur does not create a business of his own free will. On the contrary, he often does it for lack of choice.

“This is happening both because he can’t get a job in the market and because he doesn’t have a career plan. Sometimes due to prejudices, he does not enter the profession. And that will be the most viable option.”

Given the importance of entrepreneurshipBrazil’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Tourism has an initiative to support the community. As Otávio Furtado explains, there is a national register of LGBT entrepreneurs so that large companies affiliated with the Chamber can prioritize these suppliers in their recruitment.

This promotion of multi-supplier hiring and the visibility of individual micro-entrepreneurs (MEI) and small and medium-sized businesses is what makes the wheel turn. That’s because companies of this size make up the majority in the middle. And these companies also tend to hire more workers who are also fighting for rights, including work.

Furtado says the role of the non-profit Chamber is to promote knowledge, business and events related to the topic. Specifically in the field of tourism, the initiative has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Tourism, at the federal level, and other official bodies.

Its aim is to develop LGBT tourism, characterized by the activity of a person in the community. So Brazil is expected to embrace the idea of ​​having inclusive destinations. But not only: also bringing events, considered as big engines, to the public.

To get an idea of ​​the significance of the events, Otávio Furtado recalls that: the Gay Pride in São Paulo is the third largest event in the field of money traffic. In 2019, for example, the event contributed with a circulation of R$403 million. The parade is second only to the Carnival of São Paulo and the Virada Cultural.

Another valid point of reference to emphasize is that the Gay Parade is ahead of the Formula 1 race, which is traditionally held in Interlagos.

In Minas Gerais, the Chamber’s tourism director says the main events considered inclusive to the public are the Gay Parade and Carnival. The diversity of the blocks adds to the receptivity.

Otávio Furtado, Director of Tourism at the Chamber of Commerce and LGBT Tourism in Brazil!  Credit: Personal Collection
Otávio Furtado, Director of Tourism at the Chamber of Commerce and LGBT Tourism in Brazil! Credit: Personal Collection

“Pink Money” and community economy

The tourism practiced by the people of the community moved the amount of $218 billion worldwide. The data, from 2019, the year in which the Covid-19 pandemic did not affect the numbers, comes from Out Now Consulting, also brought by Otávio Furtado.

The data also shows that Brazil is the second largest market, with sales of $63.1 billion, second only to the US market.

A term often used when the economy is moved by the LGBTQIA+ community is the pink money† Pink money, as translated into Portuguese, has several definitions. But the CEO of More Diversity, Ricardo Sales, brings two fundamental points about the concept.

“The term can represent both the consumption potential of the LGBTI+ population and the opportunistic use of this flag to promote products and services. For companies it is important to pay attention to two points: coherence and consistency. Actions should be in dialogue with the organization’s internal practices and should take place throughout the year, not just on memorial dates”, explains Ricardo Sales.

The LGBTQIA+ voice in politics

Just as there is a lack of job opportunities, there is a lack of representation in politics. According to a survey by the organization #VoteLGBT, in the 2020 municipal elections, among 556 candidates who identify themselves within the community, 97 of them were elected.

In the 2018 elections, there were 57 candidates for the Federal Chamber, with 4 candidates elected; 96 able Legislative Assemblies, 4 being elected, and 4 candidates launched for the Senate, with only 1 elected.

So says doctor and master in sociology of law, researcher Evorah Campos and member of #VoteLGBT the organization was created to give visibility to candidatures. This search started in a traditional way, on the internet, as the Electoral Judge still does not ask for self-declaration of gender identity and sexual orientation at the time of submission.

The importance of this visibility and data work is related to the need for representation and representativeness of people who want to act for the rights that the minority needs, as Evorah pointed out.

“Brazilian politics must have our face. We exist and we need representation. We must defend our agendas in these power spaces. We need representation, through the presence of our bodies, and more than that, representation,” said the researcher.

It is worth remembering that representativeness is given by acting on behalf of the causes of the population of that minority.

This need mainly revolves around the way in which the legislator has rejected Community directives. As Evorah recalls, All achievements of the LGBTQIA+ population are the result of decisions made within the framework of the judiciary.

“This is very symbolic, it is very symbolic. Because it shows that we don’t exist, and it’s up to the judiciary to make sure the Constitution is respected,” he says. In addition, Evorah argues that the way through the legislature is important for the establishment of permanent government policy. For example, it often happens that there is a break in policy development when, for example, changes in the executive power take place.

This year, however, the concern is greater for the organization. #VoteLGBT draws attention to the fact that electoral reform can be disastrous in the sense that community candidates may not be launched.† This is because the reform does not stimulate parties by means of a minimum requirement. What is recommended is only the participation of 30% of women in party candidates.

In this way she claims that there is a risk that the Brazilian Congress will continue to overrepresent people who do not represent Brazilian society. This is the case with the white, cis, straight majority linked to agribusiness and weapons

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What is LGBTQIA+ tourism?

But finally, What characterizes tourism as inclusive for the LGBTQIA+ population? Furtado says the most important thing is to ensure that the entire tourism chain, such as transport, accommodation and services, is ready to receive the community. Respect for cultural issues and diversity is what will make the difference.

“You arrive at a hotel. It’s two men. How are you? How to treat this tourist? A trans person who hasn’t changed the documentation yet, how do you deal with that? This is part of adapting tourism to be inclusive. But fate will only be good if it is good for the local community. If he embraces diversity. The city must be used to it. If so, we already have 90% of the way to go,” explains Furtado.

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