As the global visibility of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender (LGBT) community increases, the discussion of the market’s economic impact continues to gain traction. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the travel industry.
What’s the next big thing? It’s a question retailers, manufacturers and marketers ponder incessantly so they can be at the forefront of growth with the latest innovations, media and consumer groups. And when it comes to looking for trendsetters in these areas, they would be wise to take note of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) households.
Perhaps not all members of the LGBT community would agree with the stereotype that gay people simply know fashion, but it is a fact that gay people generally tend to be more fashion-conscious than the rest. Gay men and women are demanding equality and change through style choices, and that has had an enormous impact on today’s fashion industry. These changes are affecting both the LGBT community as well as our straight friends that are now just as free to be free regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
The list of today’s top gay designers is endless; however, the LGBT community has a strong presence in the fashion industry in more ways than one. LGBT designers, magazine editors, photographers, makeup artists and hair stylists are all a part of making a contribution to what goes on the runways, into the magazines, up on the internet and into our closets. Thanks to them, items that were once exclusively intended for women are now available to men as well – such as skinny jeans – and vice versa. Who said that only women can enjoy sexy underwear? Brands like Cocksox offer men’s sexy underwear for edgy crowds who can use fashion to express their sexuality and feel comfortable in their skin, no matter what society thinks of it.
Despite major changes in laws and norms surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage and the rights of LGBT people around the world, public opinion on the acceptance of homosexuality in society remains sharply divided by country, region and economic development.
But even with these sharp divides, views are changing in many of the countries that have been surveyed since 2002, when Pew Research Center first began asking this question. In many nations, there has been an increasing acceptance of homosexuality, including in the United States, where 72% say it should be accepted, compared with just 49% as recently as 2007.