Social and welfare issues

LGBTI inclusiveness


Despite a shift toward greater acceptance in most OECD countries, homo-, trans- and intersexphobia remain widespread, thereby putting LGBTI at risk of being discriminated against in dimensions critical for their well-being: family life, education, economic outcomes and health.  The OECD aims to undertake the three following steps:

  • A comprehensive statistical module to include LGBTI in OECD publications
  • A detailed policy review to reveal progress and gaps, including the impact evaluation of policies aiming to reduce anti-LGBTI prejudice
  • A groundbreaking cross-country testing tool to identify discrimination in the labour and housing markets.   

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latest information



February 2021: Harvard Kennedy School WAPPP Seminar: programme and replay


June 2020:  Webinar to launch the OECD report "Over the Rainbow? The Road to LGBTI Inclusion"

March 2019:

SAG 2019 Spotlight on LGBT

J‌une 2017:

6-7 July 2017: Workshop on “Recent Advances in the Economics of Discrimination” at the OECD Conference Centre, including:

  • a discussion on the next steps of the “LGBTI inclusiveness” project, by Esther Duflo (July 6 at 17:30)
  • a session on anti-LGBTI discrimination (July 7 at 9:00) with Christopher Carpenter (Vanderbilt University) and Erik Plug (University of Amsterdam)

KEY Findings from Valfort (2017)

Even though homosexuality is more accepted, homophobia is still widespread in OECD countries
LGBTI Figure3.2

Greater acceptance of homosexuality in countries where same-sex marriage is legal
LGBTI Figure3.3

[Download the data for both figures in Ms-Excel]

Only few population-based surveys include direct questions on sexual orientation, and even fewer ask respondents about their gender identity. For intersex people, the only estimates stem from research articles published in medical journals. This leads to a knowledge gap about the size of these groups and their situation. Tentative but conservative measures suggest that LGBTI stand for a sizeable minority, however. For instance, they represent approximately 4.5% of the total population in the US, a proportion that can be broken down as follows among LGBTI subgroups (bearing in mind that these subgroups partly overlap):

  • 3.5% for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals based on sexual self-identification (which yields lower estimates than sexual behaviour or attraction)
  • 0.6% for transgender people 
  • 1.1% for intersex people.

Based on a systematic review of survey-based and experimental evidence, the background report points to substantial hurdles for LGBTI:

  • The lack of legal recognition of LGBTI families alters their children’s well-being
  • Bullying at school has dramatic consequences
  • LGBTI are discriminated against in the labour market
  • LGBTI show worse health outcomes across the board.

The OECD action plan for LGBTI

On February 12, 2014, twelve member countries issued a “Call to Action” asking the OECD to study the economic case for inclusive policies for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals. Supported by the Netherlands, the United States, Austria and Denmark in the first phase, the OECD’s LGBTI work is centred around a scoping review of the evidence on socio-economic participation of LGBTI and the identification of disparities across countries. The project also aims at identifying discrimination in various areas of life such as labour, housing, education, health and public policies. This project is led by the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, in cooperation with the Statistics Directorate.


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