Tuesday, October 23, 2007
From The Chicago Tribune…
Gays, lesbians far more diverse than media portrays, study finds
By Mike Swift, San Jose Mercury News
To judge from the images on network television and corporate advertising, lesbians and gay men share the same demographic niche: affluent, educated, urban -- and usually white.
Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong, says a new national demographic study that suggests lesbians and gays are more likely to be older, “responsible” suburbanites sharing a mortgage payment and listening to country music than young turks partying in the Castro or Chelsea.
“We wanted to bust some stereotypes,” said David Morse, president and chief executive of New American Dimensions, a Los Angeles market research company that joined forces with San Francisco-based Asterix Group, a brand strategy firm, in an attempt to paint a more nuanced portrait of the nation’s gays and lesbians.
Some findings surprised even the researchers:
African-Americans and Latinos were more comfortable expressing their gay identity than whites, although their gay identity was not the most important part of who they are. And, while whites were more likely to be in live-together relationships than Latinos or blacks, they were less likely to include children in their family plans.
Gays and lesbians are increasingly open and honest about their sexuality. Two-thirds agreed with the statement, “Everyone knows I’m gay.”
A majority of lesbians and gay men live outside big cities, with about one-third of lesbians and one-quarter of gay men living in small towns or rural areas.
The average age people realized their sexual orientation was 15, but it was younger for men than for women.
Corporate America frequently stumbles when it attempts to sell its products to gays, the study’s authors say. They blamed a one-size-fits-all marketing approach.
“It would be wrong for marketers to think that this was a rich and white, male, partying group,” said Christine Lehtonen, president of Asterix.
The study was based on more than 900 in-person and online surveys conducted across the country in June. While survey respondents were predominantly white, nearly one in five were black, Latino or Asian. An equal number of men and women responded.
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