August 21, 2023 | Blog

For LGBTQ+ Travelers, Discrimination Is a Global Reality


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When their jobs take LGBTQ+ business travelers around the globe, concerns about safety go beyond fears of disease, unreliable transportation, or volatile domestic politics. Discrimination, both subtle and legally embedded, abounds worldwide.

Charlie Sultan, President of Concur Travel at SAP Concur, recently pointed out in FastCompany that at least 520 anti-LGBTQ+ laws have been introduced to U.S. state legislatures in 2023 alone — what the Human Rights Campaign has declared a first-time-ever state of emergency. And laws targeting LGBTQ+ people are a complication and stressor for business travelers worldwide, as shown in the 2023 SAP Concur Global Business Travel survey in partnership with Wakefield Research.

It’s a sad reality that, according to the survey of 3,850 business travelers in 25 markets, 90% of LGBTQ+ business travelers globally have hidden their sexual orientation while on a business trip. Their top reasons for doing so are safety issues (55%) and privacy issues (55%).

In light of many nations’ anti-LGBTQ+ laws, some with criminal penalties, 38% percent of business travelers have hidden their orientation while on the road. And discrimination permeates the home office; 46% have hidden their sexual orientation because they felt that their business goals had a better chance of success if they did so.

LISTEN HERE to Nathan Richter, Senior Partner at Wakefield Research, analyze the survey results on the SAP Concur Conversations podcast. 

What’s more important than personal safety? It’s a major consideration for all business travelers, who want the career advancement and networking opportunities that come with these trips. Yet 45% of LGBTQ+ travelers would decline a trip due to safety or social concerns for traveling to certain parts of the world, and 82% have changed their accommodations in the past 12 months due to feeling unsafe, compared to 53% of business travelers overall.

The SAP Concur survey conveys the staggering rate at which LGBTQ+ business travelers face discrimination, with nearly all (94%) having personally experienced it. While the Wakefield Research survey for SAP Concur reflects a bleak and discouraging record of disregard for basic human rights, it also sheds necessary light on the urgent need for inclusiveness and change.

Abroad and at home, from Global north to south, we all need to do better.


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