3 Tips For Authentically Representing the LGBTQ+ Community
In the era of inclusion and representation, showing what’s real matters. The word real has become synonymous with diversity. Visually, this takes shape in the form of people wanting and expecting imagery to be representative of themselves and the world they see around them. In the LGBTQ+ community, where many have faced discrimination and bias, it’s important to connect through imagery that reflects reality in an authentic and affirming way.
iStock’s Visual GPS study showed that people want to be accepted and have learned to accept others as they are, in the way they define themselves, and the way they want to be seen. Two‑thirds—68% to be precise—say it’s important to them that the companies they buy from celebrate diversity of all kinds. 76% of GenZ and Millennials agree.
As we enter Pride Month, here are 3 tips to help you authentically represent the LGBTQ+ community in your advertising and marketing campaigns.
Include the LGBTQ+ community in business visuals
Financial services brands are vocal participants in Pride Month, and some companies have even launched initiatives aimed at including the transgender population. However, the iStock Creative Insights team found that when it comes to the visuals that financial services customers used throughout 2020, the LGBTQ+ community is included in less than 1% of all visuals—and, when they are included, they are most frequently shown in romantic visual stories. While this is a step forward, it doesn’t capture the full and multi‑faceted lives that this community leads. In the interest of being consistently committed to inclusion, be sure to include the LGBTQ+ community in visuals beyond Pride Month.
Repicture LGBTQ+ families
At iStock, as recently as 2018 we began to see customer demand for depictions of LGBTQ+ families. When brands did feature LGBTQ+ families in advertising ‑ they were typically white, upper middle‑class, traditionally good‑looking, cis‑gendered men with a baby. Considering the myriad of ways LGBTQAI+ families exist – these depictions were surprisingly narrow and stifling. Now, however, we’re beginning to see more inclusive representations that portray a more rounded picture of LGBTQAI+ family life ‑ including single parents, transracial families, blended families, co‑parenting, as well as parents of different ages and socio‑economic backgrounds.
At a time when new family configurations continue to be seen as threatening to certain groups of people in society ‑ and as governments continue to create barriers to prevent LGBTQ+ families from thriving ‑ it is important to celebrate the diversity of how our families are formed. And we need to see them reflected in our wider culture and by the businesses we support.
More Than Love: Beyond Romance for LGBTQ+
The fact is: members of the LGBTQ+ community live incredibly full, rich lives both within and outside of their romantic and/or sexual interests. They work, they laugh, they cry, they have friends, they go out, they go to school, they drink, they’re sober, they love their biological families, they redefine family for themselves, they marry, they partner, they opt for non‑monogamous relationships, they have children, they choose not to have children, they explore gender performance, they align with their gender assignment at birth, they forgo the gender construct completely, they find love, they opt out of love and so much more. The possibilities are infinite and thus, should be fully reflected in marketing and advertising.