Book Recommendation; The Economic Case for LGBT Equality: Why Fair and Equal Treatment Benefits Us All. By MV Lee Badgett.

Personal Subtitle; I Cannot Stress How Good and Significant This Book Is.

I think this book may actually be one of those rare ground breaking texts, and if you care remotely about global LGBT rights, this is worth reading. It is about so much more than economics. It’s about the psychological and social harm that LGBT inequality creates, on large and small scales.

As part of my course we’re studying public health, and the social determinants of health. That is the social, cultural and economic factors that influence people’s health choices and behaviours. This includes an examination of how our early life circumstances can shape our health as adults. With emphasis on the role of ACEs —Adverse Childhood Experiences, or early trauma, which can be everything from abuse and bullying, to the loss of a parent when we are children.

Inevitably that has led me to reading about ACEs and the determinants of LGBT people’s health. On almost every metric you look at, access to employment, unemployment, access to education, social support networks, access to secure housing and safe neighbourhoods, and access to healthcare LGBT people do not do as well as our non-LGBT counterparts. LGBT people also carry a disproportionate burden of ACEs, often related to family alienation, social stigma and bullying. You won’t be too shocked to learn that when you disaggregate the data, transgender people come out especially badly. Even in supposedly “advanced” countries, in the UK bullying transgender young people is so rife that it shows up in mental health statistics.

Which in turn led me onto The Economic Case for LGBT Equality by MV Lee Badgett.

I’ve only started reading it (well, listening- I got the audiobook for my ridiculously long commute) and I’m only a few chapters in, but I love it already. If you want to argue with transphobes homophobes and associated trolls online I would recommend it wholeheartedly. Not only is her work based on solid data, she has crystallised exactly what it’s like to be LGBT in a hostile world, and quantified the harm so many of us live with each day. This book should change the entire discourse on LGBT lives, and how urgent global LGBT equality is.