Shocking and not at all obvious study confirms LGBT+ representation in the media make straight people less queerphobic
People who have been “exposed” to LGBT+ people in adverts and other media are more likely to accept them, according to a new study.
The research into consumer attitudes towards LGBT+ people was carried out by Proctor & Gamble and LGBT+ advocacy group GLAAD.
The study, which was based on survey data from over 2,000 on-LGBT+ US adults, also found that more than two-thirds of non-LGBT+ people feel better about buying products from brands who put LGBT+ people in their adverts.
“When you have greater visibility of people who are LGBTQ, then you increase acceptance,” said Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer.
“It’s human nature that familiarity can lead to a greater degree of acceptance.”
Queer representation reflects well on brands.
As well as acceptance levels rising, showcasing LGBT+ people in media campaigns also benefits brands.
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The majority of respondents to the study believed that companies who include LGBT+ people in their adverts are more socially responsible, treat their employees with respect and are committed to offering products to all kinds of customers.
Pritchard said that companies benefit from including LGBT+ people in ads because it “shows that they see people and they understand people, and that creates a higher degree of trust”.
Showing people that LGBT+ people exist by including them in advertising campaigns also made non-LGBT+ people more comfortable when a rainbow family moved to their neighbourhood compared with those who hadn’t seen a queer person in an advert or film recently.
Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s president and CEO, said in a statement: “The findings of this study send a strong message to brands and media outlets that including LGBTQ people in ads, films and TV is good for business and good for the world.”
Pritchard added that specific campaigns – like Proctor & Gamble’s shaving brand Gillette, which last year released an advert showing a man teaching his trans son how to shave – hit the spot particularly because they are accurate and human.
“Shaving is a very important ritual, a rite of passage,” said Pritchard. “So, it makes sense for Gillette to show a transgender man shaving for the first time with his dad.”