Community Marketing & Insights President Tom Roth and Senior Research Director David Paisley presented some of their latest research about the LGBT community Wednesday at the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce convention being held this week at the Dallas Omni Hotel.
Surveys were done this spring by the market research firm in cooperation with a number of LGBT media outlets, including Dallas Voice.
The size of the LGBT community is difficult to estimate, but it’s probably 4 to 5 percent of the population, Roth and Paisley explained. However, 20-year-olds are much more likely to define themselves as bisexual than older people. So while only about 3 percent of the older population identifies as LGBT, 6 percent of 20-year-olds see themselves as part of the community.
CMI does research for corporations planning to market to the LGBT community. They advise that certain common questions on surveys need to be worded differently when addressing the LGBT community. Marital status usually gives the choices of single, married or divorced. Many in the LGBT community are offended by the question because none apply. And for straight people, isn’t divorced the same as single?
Another is gender. Many in the LGBT community see gender as fluid so CMI asks, “How do you identify?” with a list of choices that include transgender and other.
Asked how people self-identify in the community, “LGBT” is most popular except among youth and service agencies who prefer “LGBTQ.” “GLBT” is seen as dated and, when used by companies, they’re seen as not in tune with the community.
In relationship terminology, CMI’s research finds that even in the LGBT community, many are not yet comfortable with the terms “husband” or “wife,” although those who are married like those terms. Spouse or partner are more popular.
The top companies seen as solidly behind the LGBT community are Starbucks and J.C .Penney. Starbucks worked hard on Washington state marriage equality and Penney’s spokeswoman is Ellen DeGeneres. In addition, that company ran ads in its catalog last year with gay parents.
Full research results will be released over the next few weeks.