8 out of 10 LGBTQ+ women "might have come out sooner if they were represented in ads"

Josh Hall's picture
by Josh Hall

LGBTQ+ women say they are underrepresented in public life and culture - including brands and advertising.

This is according to research from media agency UM, which surveyed nearly 500 users of the dating app HER, which is designed specifically for queer women.

Of those women, more than nine out of ten said they are negatively stereotyped in the media, while 91 per cent believe there is misogyny in society directed specifically at LGBTQ+ women.

Representation was a key issue for respondents, with 86 per cent saying queer women do not have enough visibility in public life and society.

That lack of representation extends to brands and advertising. Eight out of ten of those surveyed said they may have come out sooner if brands had shown people that represent them in their ads when the women were growing up.

Commenting on the research, UM head of insight Michael Brown encouraged brands and advertisers to address this community.

“While prejudice towards the LGBTQ+ community sometimes shows signs of abating, there’s a worrying amount of stigma that remains towards queer women in particular," he said. "Advertisers have a huge part to play in defining identity norms, and as long as these enduring toxic representations continue to appear, large segments in society are being alienated."

Brown continued: “Perhaps even worse than the stigma is that widespread lack of visibility of queer women in public life. Brands and the media should put effort into raising the visibility of queer women and challenging damaging stereotypes, as it can help to break down societal barriers as well.

“Given that our research last year found that more than a quarter of UK adults identify as something other than ‘completely heterosexual’ according to the Kinsey Scale – rising to a third of those aged 35-44 and more than half of those aged 18-24 – this is far too big a community to sweep under the carpet.”

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