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New Study Shows People Are More Likely to Choose Businesses That Support LGBTQ+ Causes

Capital One Pride Display in NYC

Why companies can't afford not to support LGBTQ+ people.

A new study reveals that American workers and consumers are more likely to choose companies that support LGBTQ+ causes.

LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD, in partnership with Edelman, surveyed 1,000 consumers and 1,000 workers in the United States. They found that 51 percent are more likely to shop or work at a business that is explicitly LGBTQ-friendly, as opposed to 11 percent who say they are less likely.

Edelman Senior Vice President Lauren Gray told NBC News that the data collected should make businesses reconsider their hesitations around supporting progressive causes.

“We often see companies ask whether they can afford to take a stand in support of LGBTQ issues," she said. "This data shows that for many companies, they can’t afford not to."

In May, Edelman conducted a separate survey on the same topic that found 34 percent of consumers more likely, with 19 percent less likely. Despite the increase in likeliness for consumers and workers to align themselves with pro-LGBTQ+ companies, 2022 has been one of the most politically polarizing years for the queer community.

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group in the United States, reports that as of March this year, over 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been proposed in state legislatures. "Derogatory misinformation" about queer people on social media has also increased by 400 percent.

While many young shoppers tend to seek out brands that bolster progressive causes, more than half of Americans expect businesses and their CEOs to construct policies around LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Yet many brands fear they will get backlash for "incorrectly" representing queer issues, with 61 percent reporting that they believe they will receive more criticism for inaccurate portrayals of LGBTQ+ people than they would for “not featuring them at all.” Yet 64 percent of non-LGBTQ+ people and 71 percent of LGBTQ+ people said they are more likely to purchase from a business that features explicitly queer individuals in their advertisements.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said that the organization's "Visibility Project" will guide corporations on how to represent LGBTQ+ people “properly and accurately."

"I think it’s important to discern between joining a movement and marketing to a moment," Ellis said, adding, “When you look at moments when there’s a clash over the LGBTQ community with companies, the companies that stand up for LGBTQ folks are the ones who win. I don’t think you can be a consumer-facing product in the twenty-first century and not have this as your priority.”

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