How Corporate Marketers Should Refer to the LGBT Community

September 18, 2013

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CMI-Response-to-LGBT-Terms-in-Corp-Marketing-Sept2013Gay men and lesbians favor certain terms over others when it comes to their use by corporations, according to [download page] a Community Marketing Inc. survey of more than 10,000 gay and bisexual men, more than 4,000 lesbian and bisexual women and more than 400 transgender community members in the US. Asked how they feel about a list of terms when they seem them used by a corporation, a leading 77% of gay men and 87% of lesbians indicated a favorable attitude towards the use of the term “LGBT.” “Gay & Lesbian” was deemed favorable by an equal percentage of gay men, though by slightly fewer lesbian (71%) respondents. In fact, lesbians were slightly more favorable towards the term “Lesbian & Gay” (72%), with 6 in 10 gay men agreeing.

Certain terms did not fare nearly as well. Only 28% of gay men and 38% of lesbians are favorable to corporate use of the word “Rainbow,” while even fewer (16% and 23%, respectively) feel the same way about the term “Queer.” “LGBTQQIA” gained the least amount of favorable ratings, at just 10% of gay men and 18% of lesbian women.

Not surprisingly, bisexual men (52%), bisexual women (39%) and transgender (33%) respondents had lower favorable ratings for the term “Gay & Lesbian.” While each of those groups had the strongest preference for “LGBT,” transgender respondents also welcome corporate use of the term “LGBTQ,” with 72% favorable to its use.

When it comes to the terms used to describe relationships in the LGBT community in the media or advertising, 73% of respondents overall have a positive attitude towards the term “Spouse,” with “Partners” (67%) and “Same-sex couple” (63%) gaining the next-most positive ratings. On the other end of the spectrum, just 15% had a positive reaction to the term “Queer couple,” with 58% negatively reacting to that term.

About the Data: The survey was conducted in May and June 2013.


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