Appinio Study: The State of Pride and LGBTQ+ Awareness in The UK
Published: 7. July 2021
Just seven years ago, same-sex marriage was illegal in the United Kingdom. Only nine years before that, same-sex unions became officially recognised. Five years before that, members of the LGBTQ+ community were finally allowed to serve in the military. In retrospect, it is a shame that such progress has only been made in the past 21 years. However, we can be thankful that over the past several decades, the activism of members of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies has helped pave the way for a society that is more just and more tolerant.
Pride Month: A History of Grassroots Activism
Today, many parts of the world celebrate the month of June as Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, during which gay men and lesbians protested against illegal police raids in popular gay bars in New York and the larger anti-gay legal system in the United States. But this begs the question, how aware are Brits of Pride Month and inclusive terms such as LGBTQ+, and are there any differences by age?
Appinio, a Hamburg-based market research firm, conducted a study and surveyed 1,000 Brits (nationally representative by age and gender) to gather their insights on this topic in addition to their bi-weekly Covid-related tracking questions.
Even by age group, the majority of Brits know what LGBTQ+ stands for and have heard of Pride Month
LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer. The “+” denotes other sexual and gender identifications such as intersex and pansexual people. When asked if they knew what the abbreviation stands for, an overwhelming majority of Brits (79%) answered in the affirmative. Although a greater share of Gen Zs (16-24-year-olds) know of the term, at least 71 percent of Brits in every age group do too.
However, there are differences in participation by age
Around 35 percent of Brits consider themselves to be part of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally. An overwhelming majority (66%) have known about Pride Month for several years, but a mere 11 percent claim to have actively engaged in Pride-related initiatives. Gen Zs are 11 percent more likely than any other age group to have engaged with Pride actively.
What do Brits think about brands celebrating Pride?
Over the past few years, more brands and companies have also celebrated Pride, from rainbow-themed logos, to special edition products and social media posts. This was at first a welcoming trend; brands were seen to be more inclusive and representative of the cultural landscape. But scepticism grew, especially among the LGBTQ+ community, as people began to perceive this as a form of superficial allyship, leaving many to wonder what brands are doing to actually improve conditions for the LGBTQ+ community and minorities.
39 and 24 percent of Brits have seen Pride-related initiatives promoted by brands/companies and VIPs/influencers, respectively. Among those who saw these initiatives from brands, the channels through which they mainly did were social media (68%) and online (62%).
When asked if they think brands only utilise Pride Month for commercial reasons without genuinely caring for the LGBTQ+ community, 78 percent of our respondents either agreed or somewhat agreed. This share is slightly greater among allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community at 82 percent.
Brits call for greater action from brands
Nevertheless, over 73 percent of Brits (somewhat) agree that brands should support the LGBTQ+ community. Our respondents also generally agree (63%) that brands should do more to support the LGBTQ+ community beyond Pride Month. Allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community are also of the same opinion at a rate of 88 percent.
The state of Pride in Britain
Indeed, Brits are very much aware of Pride Month and the meaning behind the term, ‘LGBTQ+’. Despite this, those who actively participate in and engage with Pride-related events are in the minority. A large share of Brits believes that brand allyship should continue, but are wary of the use of symbolic gestures only during Pride and/or for commercial purposes. What they hope to see is greater action and support from these brands beyond Pride Month.