Why Coming Out is Good Business

Power of the Queer Dollar

Corporate Sponsorship of Gay Pride Events on the Rise

Top LGBTQ Corporate Business Leaders

First Openly Gay Women to Head Fortune 500 Company

Openly Gay CEOs

Businesses That Stand Up for LGBTQ Customers

Info: Career and Workplace Issues

LGBTQ Marketing and Advertising

Logo: Top 25 LGBTQ Friendly Companies

LGBTQ in the Marketplace


"Communities that promote inclusion thrive, and so do the business that invest in them."

-Chad Griffin / HRC President


LGBTQ marketing is the act of marketing to LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) consumers, either with dedicated ads or general ads, or through sponsorships of LGBTQ organizations and events, or through the targeted use of any other element of the marketing mix.


The LGBTQ market comprises a large and influential group of customers to a broad range of companies, across industry segments, across many countries around the globe. In the US alone, the LGBTQ market is estimated to be worth $660 billion (2006) in disposable income. Approximately 4% to 10% of adult populations self-identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, meaning between 12 million and 28 million in the United States alone. Major ad categories include travel, financial services, alcoholic beverages, automotive, entertainment, hair and skincare, luxury goods, pharmaceuticals, and fashion. 


According a survey by Witeck/Combs/Harris, 78% of LGBTQ people and their friends and relatives would switch brands to companies that are known as LGBTQ friendly.



The Power of Being an Out Entrepreneur

How Businesses Are Standing Up for LGBTQ Rights

Nielson: LGBTQ Consumer Report

Info: Money and Financial Matters

Video List: Openly Gay Billionaires Worldwide

Nielson: State of the LGBTQ Consumer

Report: Diversity in the Tech Field

Atlantic: Economic Case for Supporting LGBTQ Rights

Experian: Marketing to LGBTQ Consumers

GLAAD: Importance of LGBTQ Equality in the Workplace


LGBTQ Discrimination in Business and Government


According to the Harris Poll (October 2015), the majority of Americans agree that businesses and government officials should not discriminate against LGBTQ people.

As Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis may now realize, most Americans believe that government officials should not allow their religious beliefs to stand in the way of issuing marriage licenses to all couples. A new national survey reveals that Americans shun this form of discrimination not only by public officials, but also by businesses that wish to deny goods or services to LGBTQ people.

A full two-thirds (67%) of Americans, including 78% of LGBTQ Americans, agreed that a government official should be obligated to serve all of the public and perform all duties, regardless of their religious beliefs. The Out & Equal Workplace survey also confirmed that 60% of Americans (and 80% of LGBTQ individuals) believe that business owners should not be permitted to turn away anyone based on their religious beliefs.


These and other findings were included in the 2015 Out & Equal Workplace Survey, in partnership with Witeck Communications.


“These findings makes it clear that a majority of Americans still believe that fairness and equal treatment are a birthright for all of us.  And that discrimination against LGBTQ people has no justification,” said Selisse Berry, Founder, CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. “This past year, we saw more and more business leaders and corporations boldly oppose discriminatory religious freedom legislation, while standing up for their workforce and their customers.”


Gay Market News
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Video List: Openly Gay Billionaires Worldwide

Info: Career and Workplace Issues

Businesses Are Saying No to Religious Freedom Laws

Companies That Support LGBTQ Rights

Companies That Do Not Support LGBTQ Rights

Most LGBTQ Inclusive Brands

Info: Legal Issues

Logo: Top 25 LGBTQ Friendly Companies

Pride Not Prejudice: Discrimination in the Workplace

How to Create an Inclusive Environment for LGBTQ Employees



Strong Support for Federal Non-Discrimination Protections: The survey also informed respondents that there is no federal law today that protects someone who is LGBTQ from discrimination in public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels and other businesses open to all the public. When asked if they would support such a law, 6 out of 10 (62%) Americans agreed, with 44% saying they “strongly support” a federal law, and, by contrast, only 14% saying they “strongly oppose” such a law.

In a related question, the survey found that 21% of Americans believe that LGBTQ people are protected from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in all 50 states, including 12% of LGBTQ people who share this misconception. However, there is no such federal law, and today there are only 22 states with workplace protections based on sexual orientation, and 19 states that include protections for gender identity.



State Exemptions for Individual Religious Beliefs: The survey also touched on the rise of state legislation that would expand ways to exempt individuals from laws or regulations that conflict with their religious beliefs. Forty-five percent of Americans say they oppose expanding these religious exemptions at the state level, with just 30% in support. Roughly one out of five, however, said they still were not sure.

“Americans are debating and learning much about the kind of society they desire,” said Bob Witeck, President of Witeck Communications. “The good news is that their distaste for discrimination seems to be growing, and this signal is keenly understood in the marketplace and throughout American life.”


LGBTQ Representation in Advertising


Advertising Age: Top Ten Best LGBTQ-Themed Ads

Wells Fargo Bank: Learning Sign Language

Ralph Lauren: What is Family

Awesome Gay Commercials

Clean & Clear: Being Your True Self

Tide: Couple Doing Laundry

Video Compilation 1: Funny LGBTQ TV Ads

Baby Formula Ad Featuring Same Sex Dads

Toyota: She Thinks She’s in Love

NatWest Bank: Whoever You Are

Nordstrom: Homecoming

Funny Gay Commercials

Sealy Posturepedic: Afterglow

Ikea: Dining Room Table

Video Compilation 2: Funny LGBTQ TV Ads

Bud Light Honors Stonewall Anniversary

Emotional Gay Commercials

Colgate: Smile With Pride

Heinz: Gay Kiss

Video Compilation 3: Funny LGBTQ TV Ads

Variety: Funny Gay Commercials

Pepsi: Three Men in a Bar

Kindle: At The Beach

Video Compilation: Funny TV Ads with LGBTQ Couples

XXL All Sports United: Airport Love

Hyundai: Lipstick Note



Openly Gay Business Leaders

Tim Cook - CEO of Apple Computers

John Browne - CEO of BP Oil

Beth Ford - CEO of Land O' Lakes

Alan Joyce - CEO of Qantas Airlines

Robert Hanson - CEO of American Eagle Outfitters

Inga Beale - CEO of Lloyd's of London

Joseph Evangelisti - CEO of JP Morgan Chase

Antonio Simoes - CEO of HSBC Bank

Chris Hughes - Co-Founder of Facebook

Peter Thiel - Co-Founder of PayPal

Louis Vega - Senior Executive at Dow Chemical

Alex Schultz - VP of Facebook

Claudia Brind-Woody - VP at IBM

Beth Brook-Marciniak - VP at Ernst & Young



Infographic: Why Diversity Matters in the Workplace

Research Data: LGBTQ Workplace Issues

Infographic: Transgender Issues in the Workplace

Workplace Diversity: Benefits of Hiring LGBTQ People

Infographic: Sexual Orientation in the Workplace


Apple Computers CEO Tim Cook is Gay

"I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

-Tim Cook / CEO of Apple Computers

In October 2014 Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Computers, announced to the world that he was gay, making him the highest-profile chief executive to publicly come out. He was born in Mobile, Alabama and grew up and attended school in south Alabama. He is a 1982 graduate of Auburn University. He  And now he is the CEO of Apple Computers, succeeding Apple founder Steve Jobs back in 2011.


Cook becomes the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company, according to gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, who applauded Cook's Bloomberg essay in which he announced his sexual orientation. "Tim Cook's announcement will save countless lives," says HRC President Chad Griffin. "He has always been a role model, but today millions across the globe will draw inspiration from a different aspect of his life."

Mr. Cook’s decision is unlikely to have any major impact on Apple’s global business, said business analysts and professors. No business executive of Mr. Cook’s stature has ever done something like this before. And while laws legalizing same-sex marriage are sweeping places like the United States, Latin America and Europe, gay rights advocates are still struggling to secure basic protections in Asia, where Apple generated 27 percent of its revenue in the fourth quarter.


USA Today: Apple CEO Tim Cook Proud to be Gay



"Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy," he says. "I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them." He continues, "At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others? I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today."


"For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation, " he explains. "Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky." "While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."


Tim Cook's revelation comes just days after he advocated on behalf of LGBTQ rights in his home state of Alabama. "Alabama is still too slow on equality for the LGBTQ community," he said, per the Associated Press, while calling for laws protecting people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. "Under the law, citizens of Alabama can still be fired based on their sexual orientation. We can't change the past, but we can learn from it and we can create a different future." "As a state, we took too long to steps toward equality," he said. "We were too slow on equality for African-Americans. We were too slow on interracial marriage, and we are still too slow for the equality for the LGBTQ community." Cook's sexuality has been a point of speculation for quite some time. Gawker reported that Cook was gay back in 2011 before he succeeded Steve Jobs. Since then, Cook himself has seemingly dropped hints about his sexuality. In 2013, during a speech about human rights at Auburn University Cook discussed the discrimination he faced as a young person.




BP Former CEO Comes Out

In June 2014, the former CEO of BP Oil Company (British Petroleum), Lord John Browne, came out as gay. In his recently published book, "The Glass Closet," Browne reflects on being a closeted gay business executive. During his 12 years as CEO, he never discussed his sexuality in the workplace. That changed in 2007, when his relationship with a male escort was exposed and Browne resigned amid an ensuing scandal. At the time, he said in a statement, "I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private."

The presumption in the business world "is that everyone is straight," Browne tells NPR. "The presumption is that a man will have photographs on his desk of his wife and children." But looking back today, he says "it would have been better to come out, rather than not." So Browne has written a manifesto, The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out Is Good For Business. In it, he shares his regrets and urges business to create a more supportive environment for gay and lesbian employees.



You Tube: Interview With BP CEO John Browne

NPR News: John Browne's New Book The Glass Closet
Business Week: John Browne Getting Out of the Closet

Guardian: John Browne on Being Gay

Why Coming Out is Good Business


LGBTQ Reading List: Business and Career

Gay Issues in the Workplace by Brian McNaught
Lavender Road to Success: Career Guide for the Gay Community by Kirk Snyder

The Gay Yellow Pages: The National Edition
Straight Jobs, Gay Lives by Annette Friskopp & Sharon Silverstein
100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians by Ed Mickens
Lesbian Lifestyles: Women's Work and the Politics of Sexuality by Gillian Dunne

Acts of Disclosure: Coming out Process of Contemporary Gay Men by Marc Vargo

Straight Talk About Gays in the Workplace by Liz Winfeld

Pleasures and Perils of Coming Out on the Job by Richard Rasi

The G Quotient by Kirk Snyder

Your Career Career: Ultimate Career Guide for LGBTQ Job Seekers by Riley B. Folds III

Transgender Workplace Diversity by Jillian Weiss


Why Coming Out is Good Business

Video List: Openly Gay Billionaires Worldwide

Power of the Queer Dollar

Corporate Sponsorship of Gay Pride Events on the Rise

Top LGBTQ Corporate Business Leaders

First Openly Gay Women to Head Fortune 500 Company

Openly Gay CEOs

Businesses That Stand Up for LGBTQ Customers

Info: Career and Workplace Issues

LGBTQ Marketing and Advertising

Logo: Top 25 LGBTQ Friendly Companies

How to Create an Inclusive Environment for LGBTQ Employees




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