A new study revealed that gay male couples are “significantly discriminated against” in the search for accommodation through Airbnb in Dublin.
Trinity College Dublin (TCD) economists Rishi Ahuja and Professor Ronan Lyons created four different accounts on Airbnb: one with a gay male couple; one with a lesbian female couple; one with a male and female couple where the male contacted the Airbnb host; and one with a male and female couple where the female contacted the host.
Ahuja and Lyons contacted over 600 Airbnb hosts in Dublin from these accounts, and they found that gay men are 25% less likely to secure a booking.
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The research didn’t indicate that lesbian couples were any less likely to secure a booking than heterosexual couples.
Lyons indicated that the discrimination was not communicated using words. Instead the gay couple were more likely to have their message contacting Dublin hosts ignored.
The research also discovered that the level of discrimination was lower in the more affluent areas of the capital.
The TCD Professor warns that an increase in sharing personal data online may lead to discrimination.
Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy declares that the company is “at its core, an open community dedicated to bringing the world closer together by fostering meaningful, shared experiences amongst people from all parts of the world.” In 2015 they released a #HostWithPride video with the message that “Love is welcome [on Airbnb]” and saying that they “look forward to a world where all love is welcome.”
They state that intolerance and exclusionary practices “have no place” on Airbnb.
“Joining Airbnb, as a host or guest, means becoming part of a community of inclusion. Bias, prejudice, racism, and hatred have no place on our platform or in our community.”
“While hosts are required to follow all applicable laws that prohibit discrimination based on such factors as race, religion, national origin, and others listed below, we commit to do more than comply with the minimum requirements established by law.”
Specifically, discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation is strictly prohibited by Airbnb.
“Airbnb hosts may not decline a guest based on race, colour, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.”
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