US: LGBT+ visibility builds acceptance – survey

Image: Libraries Publishing Titles

Americans are more likely to accept LGBT+ people if they see them portrayed in film, television and advertisements, said a survey released on Wednesday, findings that supporters say illustrate the benefits of visibility to the LGBT+ community.

Nearly half of those who saw LGBT+ images in the media were more receptive of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, compared with a third who had not seen those images, according to research by Procter & Gamble Co., the consumer goods giant, and GLAAD.

The research surveyed about 2,000 non-LGBT+ US adults.

The findings come amid debate in the United States between rights advocates who back LGBT+ visibility, and right-wing groups that oppose the images in mass media.

“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,” said Sarah Ellis, the head of GLAAD, in a statement.

In December, Hallmark Cards pulled television advertisements, that featured same-sex couples, from the wedding registry and planning website, Zola, after pressure from a conservative group, One Million Moms, that said the ads promoted a “sinful lifestyle.”

After public outcry, Hallmark reversed its decision, and apologised.

The survey also found companies that included LGBT+ people in their ads were viewed favourably by nearly 70% of respondents, who said they felt “better” about buying products from those companies.

A number of companies have spoken out against laws that hinder LGBT+ rights, such as Amazon, Nike Inc. and American Airlines, which condemned a Tennessee law in February, [which allowed] adoption agencies to turn away LGBT+ couples on religious grounds.

-Matthew Lavietes – Thomson Reuters Foundation

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