Almost half of 7th- to 12th-graders today (48%, compared with 12% in 1989) say that if they found out one of their same-sex friends was involved in a gay or lesbian relationship, they would continue the friendship unchanged. ---Good Intentions: The Beliefs and Values of Teens and Tweens Today, commissioned by the Girl Scouts of America and conducted using online and school-based techniques between October 2, 2008 and January 23, 2009, among a national sample of 3,263 students—boys and girls in grades 3 through 12, both in and out of Girl Scouting
Post by Bob Witeck, CEO and co-founder of Witeck-Combs Communications
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of a major milestone – Earth Day. For some, this is considered the start of today’s burgeoning environmental movement, and a reason why many more of us today often call ourselves “environmentalists.”
This week, with a new national survey, we discovered that many in America’s gay community strongly consider themselves part of the growing “green” movement. For instance, about one in five (21%) lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) adults are comfortable using the self-label of “environmentalist,” when contrasted with just 13% of heterosexuals. See all the details here.
In nearly ten years study of market and political trends, we have partnered strategically with expert researchers at Harris Interactive, to find out what makes lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people think and behave as they do – and also what makes them alike as well as different from others? Embracing pro-environmental attitudes and actions clearly seems to be one signal that LGBT attitudes stand apart.
In this new online survey, we also learned that three-quarters of LGBT adults (compared with just over half of all heterosexuals surveyed) believe global warming is happening right now, and by about two to one, more LGBT adults say they have seen or read Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” than have others.
These trends demonstrate that many Americans today feel a deeper sense of accountability for the environmental impact their actions cause. Although LGBT couples are not parenting as frequently as heterosexual couples, 51% say they are concerned about the planet we are leaving behind for future generations – compared with 42% of heterosexual adults.
While many people are finding ways to protect the environment and reduce their carbon footprint, there are other notable gaps in attitudes and actions between individuals who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender and the attitudes of heterosexual respondents. Take a glimpse of these gaps in motivations towards voting, buying and jobs, too:
48% of LGBT adults say it is “very to extremely important” to consider environmental issues when voting for a candidate, compared with 35% of non-LGBT adults.
40% of LGBT adults also say it is “very to extremely important” to consider environmental issues when buying and using products or services, compared with 26% of heterosexuals.
28% of LGBT adults report that also is “very to extremely important” to consider environmental issues in choosing the company you work for or apply for a job, compared with just 16% of non-LGBT adults who agree.
Why do you think LGBT adults are more likely to be more eco-conscious or eco-aware than heterosexual Americans?
Bob Witeck is co-founder and CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. (www.witeckcombs.com), a Washington-based public relations and marketing firm specializing in developing strategies for companies looking to reach the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) consumer market. With Wesley Combs, he also is co-author of “Business Inside Out: Tapping Millions of Brand-Loyal Gay Consumers” (Kaplan Publishing, September 2006).
20% of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and/or Transgender) Americans say they are "green," compared to 12% of heterosexual adults. ---The Harris Poll, conducted online between July 7th-September 8th, 2009 among 3,110 U.S. adults 18+, of whom 167 self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender
Two-thirds of GLBT Americans think country is headed in the right direction. --- Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs Communications, conducted online between August 10th and 18th, 2009, among 2,709 U.S. adults 18+, of whom 2,274 indicated they are heterosexual and 378 self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (including an over-sample of lesbian and gay adults).
My birthday just passed and my best friend who has never led me down a stray path just told me that a tattoo is THE way through your mid-life crisis. And, on the same day, ABC News just had a story about a pin-up calendar of the tattoos of Texas librarians…. Now, nothing says rebellion like the woman who shelves my daughter’s schoolbooks with a fire-breathing dragon on her bicep. So, I begin this post today, despite the data being nearly 6 years old.
Back in 2003, 16% of Americans said they had at least one tattoo – though about double this figure for LGBT adults and Gen X/early baby boomers.
And, among those who had a tattoo back in the early aughts, 83% of tattoo-ed Americans had absolutely no regrets about getting their body inked. But among those who did, having a person’s name permanently etched on their body was the #1 source of remorse. Angelina, remember the love of your life, Billy Bob?… Where is he (and his body autograph) anyway?
For those of us without tattoos, seeing the pictures on someone else’s body makes us think those who have tattoos are:
Since we started studying blog readership among online adults in 2006, we have consistently found that gay and lesbian respondents read more blogs, more often than heterosexual respondents. Back in '06, 32% of gay and lesbian respondents claimed blog readership, while heterosexual respondents only 26%. And in the past 3 years, readership by gay and lesbian respondents has skyrocketed - an increase of 23 percentage points, compared to a more modest but still large 12 percentage point increase for heterosexual respondents. And, gay/lesbian adults don't just stick to one or two of their favorite blogs; they appear to be exposed to more diverse content from a greater variety of blogs (personal, political, entertainment, and news), compared to their straight counterparts.
And, when it comes to social networking sites, greater percentages of gay and lesbian respondents say they are members of the following sites than straight respondents do (stated membership %s below):
Facebook—55% gay and lesbian vs. 46% heterosexuals
MySpace—43% gay and lesbian vs. 30% heterosexuals
LinkedIn—23% gay and lesbian vs. 13% heterosexuals
Twitter—20% gay and lesbian vs. 12% heterosexuals
Plaxo—9% gay and lesbian vs. 6% heterosexuals
So, what's the attraction for gay and lesbian adults online? A sense of community? Safety? Anonymity? Information? Support? The key benefits that hook all of us to the Internet (and keep us coming back for more) appear to hold even greater allure for the online lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. For years, our joint research with Witeck-Combs Communications, gay and lesbian marketing experts, has shown that LGBT people tend to be online in greater numbers and to stay online more than the average American. When it is still legal to fire someone in 30 states just for being LGBT, the Internet can easily offer a gay person the ability to meet, research information and shop without having to publicly self identify and risk discrimination or even worse – violence.
The LGBT community has also shown a propensity to be cutting edge and try new technologies before the rest of the population, which reinforces their connections with social networking sites. So, as we in the business community try to navigate the web 2.0 space and understand how to best speak to consumers, this data certainly offers some insight to our thought process. Web 2.0 users are a heterogeneous (that is, not solely heterosexual) group. So, how should we in advertising, research, commerce consider our strategy in response?
Just over 1 in 10 online adults (13%) say they are a member of Twitter. --- commissioned by Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs Communications, conducted online between May 11th and 18th, 2009, among 3,000 adults 18+, of whom 2,451 indicated they are heterosexual and 404 self-identified as gay or lesbian
Post by Bob Witeck, Co-founder and CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.
For the past 10 years, we have collaborated with colleagues at Harris Interactive to track the consumer behaviors and attitudes of gays and lesbians. In a pioneering way, we've tried to identify what makes a gay household the same or different from any other American households in the products and services they prefer, and the choices they make.
A brand new research snapshot taken last month validated a few trends we've unearthed over the years. I think it also gives travel and hospitality industry leaders some fresh adrenalin during this very challenging economy by underscoring the high priority gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) consumers give to tourism and travel.
It's clear very few households are untouched by today's recession, and most of us are making painful choices in spending and saving - yet this survey describes gay travelers as among the most resilient.
For instance, we found that GLBT consumers say on average they are likely to spend about $2,300 between May and August 2009 for their leisure and business travel, while heterosexuals on average expect to spend about $1,500.
This is not about affluence either. There is no economic data that suggests gay households have more wealth than their counterparts. It appears to be a question about spending choices, and where savings are made.
When the entire sample of 2,401 U.S. adults were asked how they would save during travel this summer, they made some logical cuts - for instance, staying with family or friends rather than in paid accommodations, finding less costly meal options, cooking their own meals rather than dining out, having a "staycation" rather than a vacation, or simply spending less overall on activities. The data showed heterosexuals and gay travelers think alike about ways to save money.
But what the data also show is that GLBT travelers are less likely to skimp and will economize less than heterosexuals on each of these options. Take a look at the data.
The propensity to travel more is a trait we've seen consistently among gay households over the past decade. Following the tragic events in September 2001, for instance, in a similar travel study, we saw that lesbians and gay men were among the first groups to signal their desire to travel again. In 2006, we partnered with the Travel Industry Association to benchmark gay and non-gay travelers on many characteristics, including the specific factors that contribute to a destination's reputation as a gay-friendly and welcoming one. Take a look at the highlights of that first-of-its-kind industry study, too.
As all companies cope with the economic roller coaster today, it's encouraging to see some trends give us insight that we can take to market right now.
**** Editors Note: For more information on travel and tourism research conducted by Harris Interactive, feel free to contact Ms. Allison Powell, Research Director for Travel and Tourism Research at firstname.lastname@example.org
**** Bob Witeck is co-founder and CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. (www.witeckcombs.com), a Washington-based public relations and marketing firm specializing in developing strategies for companies looking to reach the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) consumer market. With Wesley Combs, he also is co-author of "Business Inside Out: Tapping Millions of Brand-Loyal Gay Consumers" (Kaplan Publishing, September 2006).
Here’s another key finding from the study we conducted for GLAAD back in November. Knowing someone who is LGBT (and the quantity and quality of those relationships) is critical to demonstrating support for LGBT-related policies.
Now, this isn’t rocket science to me, but it rang loud and clear throughout our data, so from my perspective, warrants some discussion. Pre-my researcher days, I would have said glibly that all prejudice was derived from lack of experience, but I didn’t have the data to back that up… until now.
Nearly 3 in 4 Americans (72%) say they know or work with at least one gay or lesbian adult. And, for those who describe at least one of these relationships as “close or very close”, support for the seven LGBT-related policy measures mentioned in yesterday’s post ricochets skyward.
And… knowing someone personally who is gay or lesbian is far and away the top reason why feelings for LGBT adults have become more favorable in the past five years. Whereas, influence by the broader community such as media portrayals, news coverage, or passage of legislation (especially without knowing someone who is gay or lesbian) is the top reason that attitudes have shifted negatively.
So, I can’t comment on what the next action steps should be for the LGBT advocacy community… and it’s easy for me to give the following advice (given my prism as a married Gen X suburban mom) … but the data suggest strongly that being “out” may be the best way to change the minds of your most intolerant friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers.
We would love to hear your thoughts… How has your perspective on LGBT-related people and policies changed in the last five years – and why?
43% of Americans think gay people are born gay; 38% say they choose to be gay; and 17% are undecided. --- commissioned by GLAAD and conducted by telephone between November 13 and 17, 2008 among 2,008 U.S. adults