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Most Americans say businesses should publicly support LGBTQ community, survey finds


A clear majority of Americans who do not identify as LGBTQ think businesses should publicly support the community, according to a new survey by gay rights organization GLAAD.

About 70% of more than 2,500 adults who do not identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or otherwise a member of the community said support from businesses should come through hiring, advertising and sponsorship, according to online responses to GLAAD. annual “Accelerating Acceptance” study, conducted in February.

“When people are exposed to LGBTQ people and experiences in the media, it changes hearts and minds and changes culture and feelings,” GLAAD said in its statement. “Measuring comfort in the media is a path to 100% acceptance for LGBTQ people.”

Three in four survey respondents said they felt comfortable seeing LGBTQ people in ads, and nearly 70% said they felt comfortable seeing an LGBTQ family with children included in ads. advertising.

The study comes as retailers like Target, Kohl’s and PetSmart have come under attack for their annual LGBTQ Pride displays and ad campaigns.

Mega-retailer Target went so far as to pull some of its merchandise from retail last week. A company spokesperson said threats against employees “impacted our team members’ sense of safety and well-being at work.”

Critics continue to incite anti-LGBTQ attacks in stores and on social media, with some calling for a boycott.

In April, Bud Light came under fire after associating with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The campaign sparked violent videos of customers shooting Bud Light cans and a right-wing boycott. In response, the marketing manager who oversaw the partnership with Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch Inbev, took time off.

Bud Light sales since then continue to suffer, according to data from Evercore ISI. During the week ended May 20, Bud Light’s sales volume – the number of units of beer sold – was down 29.5% from the same period last year.

The company has also come under fire from LGBTQ leaders who criticized the company for not more strongly defending its ties to Mulvaney and the community.

In a statement responding to the backlash, Anheuser-Busch said it “works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences of diverse demographics.”

GLAAD and more than 100 leading LGBTQ rights organizations wrote a letter on Wednesday calling on Target to “reject and speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ extremism in the run-up to Pride Month,” which is celebrated in June.

“Redoubling values ​​isn’t just the right thing to do,” the group wrote in a statement. “It’s good for business.”

A separate survey conducted by GLAAD and the Edelman Trust Institute in December found that if a brand publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to extending and protecting LGBTQ+ rights, Americans are twice as likely to buy or use the brand.

GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis pointed out in her personal message call to action on Twitter last week that companies need to support their products and ad campaigns instead of backing down.

“Anti-LGBTQ violence and hate shouldn’t win in America,” Ellis said. “But it will continue until business leaders become heroes for their LGBTQ employees and consumers and don’t give in to fringe activists calling for censorship.”

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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.