Richard Branson Knows Gay Is Good Business

AUSTRALIA-MALAYSIA-BRITAIN-AIRASIA-AUTO-PRIX-BRANSONYou can count Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and billionaire four or five times over, on our side.

In a recent piece for Entrepreneur, the business magnate discusses the value of workplace diversity — specifically LGBT diversity — from economic and moral standpoints. And it’s not just Branson who thinks this way. It’s very encouraging to see this mindset becoming the norm in the business world, not the exception.

Here are some highlights:

On good business:

“Research shows that companies that have a diverse workforce have a distinct advantage…Discriminating against potential customers just makes no sense from an economic, or any, viewpoint.”

On workplace statistics:

“LGBT people working in unfriendly environments reported feeling depressed (34 percent), distracted (27 percent) and exhausted (23 percent), while those who reported feeling isolated at work were 73 percent more likely to say they were planning to leave their companies within three years. A company’s best assets are its people, and if a significant portion of them are getting ready to leave, that’s an emergency that needs your attention.”

On Russia:

“One country I have watched with increasing concern is Russia. In the years following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia liberalized some of its laws targeting gays – it decriminalized homosexual relationships in 1993 – and the country appeared to be on the road to equality. But now new laws have been introduced to intimidate and persecute gay people. Russian authorities have been denying permits for gay pride parades, and violence and crimes against LGBT Russians are on the rise. Activists have been arrested, and many are leaving the country. Russia is now ranked 49th on a list of 49 countries for LGBT protections.

Such backward changes are not only morally wrong, but will ultimately hurt even those who put them in place. When people work toward a common goal, they are driven, passionate and purposeful. This translates into harder work and more innovation. Fostering divisions in any group, no matter what the size, is never a productive policy.”

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  • ouragannyc

    He should have shaved the goatee at least!

  • Aires the Ram

    I applaud Richard Branson, not only for his support of diversity, but his camp bravery in doing something like in the picture above. If you cannot recognize that, above your own personal opinion that he “should have shaved the goatee at least”, then you are quite shallow.

  • davidanderson323

    These are the reasons I want to work for this man so strongly. I have been a fan and a follower of his for many years now. Please Virgin Hotels, consider me when you start opening and expanding the globe! My dream is to be a part of your diversified team!

  • viveutvivas

    Except Queerty is blocked in the internet cafés in Virgin Active gyms in South Africa.

  • balehead

    Branson is right…criticizing his goatee is just another sign why LGBT rights are taking so long..

  • balehead

    oragannyc should go work for GLAAD…

  • viveutvivas

    @balehead, I would say being incapable of recognizing, or intolerant of, any attempt at humor is a much larger problem for us.

  • SteveDenver

    Anti-gay sentiments tend to follow the curve of ignorance — regardless of wealth or education. Choosing to be an oblivious moron is popular in some cultural segments, such as conservatism, and leads to bigotry and bias that requires GOD to provide an explanation.

  • Kieran

    Nothing says “Gay” like lipstick, false eyelashes and mascara, right?


  • viveutvivas

    @Kieran, I suspect that picture was unrelated to the “gay” subject. He was probably fooling around dressing like a stewardess at some point in his life for Halloween or something, and Queerty probably took it upon themselves to use that stock picture in this news item.

    I still want to know why Virgin Active gyms ban Queerty, though.

  • doug105

    @viveutvivas: Seem to remember a lost bet.

  • DickieJohnson

    Lipstick and false eyelashes…we used to call that “camp”. Other things that say “gay” are catty, bitchy comments, which don’t do much to erase homophobia.

  • Curtispsf

    @DickieJohnson: You go, girl. I like a ladee who has some nice facial hair and bright lipstick. Reminds me of mom when we lived in the double wide up in the hills. (and yes, the neighbors were very jealous….DOUBLE wide and all).

  • Kibakun

    Please… he only dressed up as a stewardess because he lost a bet with Tony Fernandez, his old protege who is now the owner of Air Asia.

    It had absolutely NOTHING to do with showing whatever solidarity with LGBT, just two straight men making a bet that the loser does something they would consider either funny or humiliating (or both).

    A stupid and childish prank by rich grown men who should know better but then again, maybe not.. the two of them revel in being ‘lads’.

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