Updated: Aug 17
Credit Photo: Bangkok Pride 2023
Bangkok June 4, 2023: Last Sunday, a momentous event took place as over 30 LGBTQI+ organizations, including prominent political parties such as Move Forward and Pheu Thai, joined forces with 50,000+ LGBTQI+ individuals and allies from both the public and private sectors. Together, they marched from Siam to Central World, proclaiming with resounding voices, "Happy Pride, Beyond Gender," in alignment with this year's theme. The purpose of Bangkok Pride 2023 was not only to assert the existence of the LGBTQI+ community and demand socio-economic rights as equal citizens but also to showcase the city's readiness in hosting WorldPride 2028. However, despite their hope and relentless efforts, the journey to secure the legalization of same-sex marriage and gender recognition laws in Thailand continues to face significant obstacles. A recent civil gathering in December 2021 followed the rejection of the decade-long fight for the same-sex marriage bill by the Constitution Court. Concurrently, amidst campaigns like "GO Thai. Be Free " by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, aimed at attracting LGBTQI+ travelers from around the world, local netizens have questioned whether Thailand genuinely lives up to its reputation as an LGBTQI+ paradise given the challenges faced within the country.
Every second spent by LGBTQI+ individuals struggling for equal rights within society bears an opportunity cost for the economic and social progress of the nation. This holds particular significance as the Thai government has emphasized the BCG Economy Model, with tourism and the creative industry at the forefront.
Unquestionably, freedom of speech, diversity, and inclusion are fundamental pillars of the creative industry. Considering the incredible power of the LGBTQI+ community, widely recognized for their out-of-the-box creativity and resilience, Thai companies and the economy at large have a unique opportunity to harness their potential as catalysts for business value generation, especially during these times of crisis.
The ongoing global pandemic, economic recession, and political and social conflicts have forced companies worldwide, including those in Thailand, to accelerate change. Many companies in the United States, for instance, are grappling with the "great resignation" phenomenon, as 4.3 million Americans have chosen to leave their jobs. The question then arises: how can Thai companies attract and retain the talents that are crucial for driving growth and instigating transformative change, both during and after the pandemic?
One of the primary factors influencing the decisions of modern Thai talents, particularly millennials, when considering a company to join, is the company purpose and culture. This is closely followed by branding perception and compensation and benefits. Individuals now seek meaningful employment opportunities that align not only with their work-life purpose but also contribute to social impact. This shift in attitude mirrors the preferences of today's consumers, who gravitate towards transparent, authentic, and diversity-inclusive brands.
Now, more than ever, employees value work environments that prioritize diversity, equality & inclusion (DE&I). When examining the statistics on the benefits of authentic DE&I policies and strategies, it becomes evident that they empower companies to achieve higher revenues, outperform competitors in innovation and decision-making, enhance employee engagement and productivity, reduce turnover rates, and attract and retain top talents who drive transformative changes, ultimately strengthening the company's brand.
Imagine a world where individuals can live and work without fear, stigma, discrimination, and with legal and social recognition. The immense value they would generate for companies, communities, and countries alike is immeasurable.
Visualize a future with diverse leaders who thrive, inspire, and harness the power of people to effect impactful changes, transforming conflicts into cohesion, and evolving from a single perspective to a collective of diverse voices.
Therefore, it is imperative to recognize that the magical power of the LGBTQI+ community has towards business, economy and society.
Credit Photo: TransTalents Consulting Group