Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-03-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Airbnb to tackle LGBT, race discrimination on its platform
by Angelique Smith
2016-11-30

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Fewer than 20 states in the country prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And although the Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discrimination based on race, religion, sex and national origin—with an expansion to the law in 1988 to include discrimination based on disability or family status—housing discrimination continues to this day, though sometimes in less obvious forms.

Airbnb, founded in 2008 as "a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world," has changed the way people travel. But it is not without its share of controversy, ranging from charges of questionable apartment listings to race and sexual orientation discrimination. But how does a company address what is essentially a societal problem that is manifesting itself on the company's platform? For Airbnb, it begins with starting from within.

Airbnb's worldwide commitment to equality in the workplace includes domestic-partner benefits, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, an LGBT employee resource group and gender-neutral bathrooms at their full offices in the U.S. The company also supported the repeal of North Carolina's anti-LGBT HB2, scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index this year and is a member of HRC's Business Coalition for the Equality Act.

Windy City Times interviewed spokesperson Nick Papas to learn what Airbnb is doing externally in an ongoing and multi-faceted effort to fight discrimination by race, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Windy City Times: What else does Airbnb do to support the LGBT community?

Nick Papas: Airbnb provides an economic empowerment tool for everyone, including many members of the LGBT community, that makes it possible for people to turn what is often their greatest expense—their housing—into an asset. We have heard countless stories of people in Chicago and around the world who use Airbnb to help pay the bills, meet new people and to show people the city, community and neighborhood that they love. We've found that this is really an economic lifeline and an opportunity for people from different countries and cultures to connect with one another. That is incredibly important in terms of breaking down barriers and promoting understanding.

WCT: What is Airbnb doing to help prevent discrimination?

NP: We looked at every facet of our platform with an eye towards how we can prevent discrimination. That resulted in a series of recommendations, including the new community commitments. Beginning Nov. 1, everyone who wants to use Airbnb will have to affirmatively signal that they agree with a very basic statement of principles that makes clear that they will not discriminate against anyone because of who they are, where they are from or who they love.

We also have a new policy called the Open Doors policy: if anyone believes that they have been discriminated against, they can call us and we guarantee that we will find them a place to stay. We are also implementing a range of other tools to help fight discrimination: we have a new permanent team of engineers, data scientists and product experts whose sole focus is fighting discrimination and promoting diversity. We're working very hard to diversify our team and ensure that our employees reflect the diversity around the world.

Discrimination has no place on Airbnb and we are absolutely committed to continuing to learn from our community and listening to experts in this field. We spoke to leaders from the civil-rights and LGBT communities—a range of different individuals and organizations that helped inform the steps that we announced—and we're going to continue to do that.

WCT: I read that Airbnb is fighting bias with technology—tell us more about that.

NP: One of the things that experts have learned is that we all have biases, some unconscious and some conscious. We want to work with folks to fight that unconscious bias. So we're working with Dr. Robert Livingston, who is a nationally known expert in this field, to develop an unconscious bias training that will be available to all of our hosts. It is a succinct but comprehensive training that helps people fight the biases that they might not know that they have.

That is one important step that we can take to help break down barriers and ensure that our community is fair. We offered this training to folks at the Airbnb Open in Paris last year, an event that brings hosts and guests together at one location. This year, we're dramatically expanding that training to make it available to more people by putting it online.

WCT: How open were people to taking the training? I know I've taken an unconscious bias test before and it gives you a warning because a lot of people don't necessarily like hearing their results. Or worse, don't think they need it.

NP: I think we've found the vast majority of the people in our community are eager to welcome people from different cultures and folks who don't look like them. A big part of why people become Airbnb hosts is that they want the opportunity to meet people that they wouldn't normally interact with on a regular basis. When we talked to our people about the training and outlined the principles behind it and why we're doing it, folks were quite receptive and eager to participate.

We're in the process of deploying that training for everyone and will learn more as we go forward. Airbnb has long prohibited discrimination … there is an example in Texas where a gay couple checked into a listing and was told by their host that she objected to them because they were gay and we promptly removed the host from our website. This has long been something that we have believed in, but we recognize that we need to do more. This is just the beginning of our efforts, not the end, and we are committed to continue to work on this.

A more detailed report on Airbnb's updated policy on fighting discrimination and building inclusion can be found at blog.airbnb.com/fighting-discrimination-and-creating-a-world-where-anyone-can-belong-anywhere/.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Trump issues version 2.0 anti-Muslim travel ban, groups respond 2017-03-06 - Statement from the National LGBTQ Task Force. Press release Washington DC, March 6, 2017: "Version 2.0 of the Trump anti-Muslim executive order ...


Gay News

TRAVEL Fort Lauderdale: Feeling the warmth on all sides 2017-03-01 - Going to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is an experience in warmth. The expected aspect of that would involve the actual air temperature; in ...


Gay News

TRAVEL Climbing the Banyan Tree in Mexico 2017-02-22 - The Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico, makes for an extremely relaxing getaway. A three-hour direct flight from O'Hare Airport to Cancun ...


Gay News

Travel/adventure show arrives at Rosemont 2017-01-24 - More than 250 exhibitors descended upon the Rosemont's Donald E. Stephens Convention Center for Jan. 21-22 at the Travel & Adventure Show. Booth ...


Gay News

TRAVEL Miami Beach has arts, culture and beaches with flair 2017-01-18 - That wicked, pre-Christmas winter punch to the face from Mother Nature made me wish I was back in Miami Beach. Forget the ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE: CELEBRITY Meiling Jin travels from China to 'Chop Chop' 2017-01-17 - Meiling Chin has created an empire in media in just a short time. While born and raised in China, Chin eventually arrived in ...


Gay News

1000s of Illinoisans traveling to Women's March on Washington Jan. 21 2017-01-14 - As the date draws closer for what is expected to be one of the largest demonstrations in Washington, D.C. in recent times, Illinois ...


Gay News

Travel show in Rosemont Jan. 21-22 2017-01-11 - The 13th Annual Chicago Travel & Adventure Show will take place Jan. 21-22, 2017, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. ...


Gay News

TRAVEL Feeling lucky in Kentucky 2016-12-21 - Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky. The area is known for Kentucky Fried Chicken (now known as KFC), the Kentucky Derby and ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Breon Arzell is a 'Travel'-ing man 2016-11-29 - Actor Breon Arzell presents Pegasus Theatre's Rutherford's Travels playing the title character, Rutherford Calhoun. It is the tale of Rutherford Calhoun, a newly ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.