An International Review
Chapter 7: Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) Entrepreneurs
The challenges that remain are not just centred on public attitudes. New research for the Commission indicates that homophobia still significantly impacts on the lives of LGB men and women and remains entrenched within institutions and communities. (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2009, p. 9) INTRODUCTION It was only just over two decades ago in 1990 that the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental diseases. Nevertheless, in the United Nations, 86 member states still class consensual same sex among adults as a criminal offence, six provinces have legal provisions to punish homosexuality with imprisonment and seven still use the death penalty as a punishment (IDAHO-UK, 2009). Hence, it is not surprising that sexual orientation occupational research, and in particular, entrepreneurial research, has tended to remain a taboo subject until very recently and has been both sporadic and sparse (Ward et al., 2006; Davies, 2010). Willsdon (2005) also proposed that a reason why LBGs as a minority group have been largely ignored by researchers is that unlike many of the other minority entrepreneurs included in this book such as black and ethnic minorities, homosexuality can be easily concealed. Varnell (2001) is cited by Galloway (2007) and highlights the economic importance of LGBs as part of this research category: [B]lack entrepreneurship has been studied as contributing to material prosperity and social equality … The same is true of women’s businesses … but no one, either economists nor anyone else, seems to have studied gays and lesbians … (as a result)...
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