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Monday, September 24, 2007

One in Four Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Adults

One in Four Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Adults
Switched over Past Year to Companies that Support the GLBT Community
Seven in ten gay men and lesbians have switched products or service providers because they learned the company engaged in negative actions toward the GLBT community

ROCHESTER, NY - September 24, 2007 - According to a recent national survey, approximately one in four (24%) gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) adults say they have switched products or service providers because they found a competing company that supports causes that benefit the GLBT community in the past 12 months, assuming that other factors such as price, quality, and convenience were not considerations. This includes fully one-third (32%) of gay men who say they have switched products or services within the last 12 months because they found a competing company that supports GLBT causes.

These are a few highlights taken from a nationwide survey of 2,868 U.S. adults, (ages 18 and over) of whom 350 self identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The study was conducted online between August 7 and 13, 2007, by Harris Interactive(r), a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the GLBT market.

The survey also found that a high proportion of gay men and lesbians (70%) had switched products or service providers because they learned the company engaged in actions that are perceived as harmful to the GLBT community.

In terms of their brand loyalty behavior, about two-thirds (66%) of all GLBT adults reported that they would be very or somewhat likely to remain loyal to a brand they believed to be very friendly and supportive to the gay, lesbian and transgender community - even when less friendly companies may offer lower prices or be more convenient. Three out of four (75%) gay men and lesbians also said they would remain loyal to the gay-friendlier brand.

"For nearly a decade, we have tested customer loyalty benchmarks, to better understand the connection between GLBT consumers and brand reputations. Consistently, no matter how we frame the questions, we find GLBT consumers place a high value on brands that earn and grow respect within the community," said Wes Combs, President of Witeck-Combs Communications. "They remain loyal to companies that support causes that are important to them, and are highly motivated to learn about corporate social responsibility in all its forms. They are among consumers most motivated to vote with their dollars."


Harris Interactive(r) conducted the study online within the United States between August 7 and 13, 2007, among 2,868 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 2,518 indicated they are heterosexual and 350 self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (this includes an oversample of GLBT adults). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. In addition, the results for the gay and lesbian sample were weighted separately based on profiles of the gay and lesbian population that Harris Interactive has compiled through many different online surveys. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. Please note also that we distinguish sexual orientation from gender identity in querying respondent characteristics -- we are interested in the attitudes and characteristics of the transgender population, however given the consistently low incidence of response from transgender individuals, it is extremely difficult to draw specific conclusions from this population data taken separately.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates.These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

About Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.

Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. is the nation's premier marketing communications and public relations firm, specializing in developing and implementing effective strategies reaching the gay and lesbian consumer market. With over fourteen years experience in this unique market, Witeck-Combs Communications serves as a bridge between corporate America and gay and lesbian consumers. In 2006 Bob Witeck and Wes Combs co-authored Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Consumers (Kaplan Publishing), considered the first-ever book on marketing insights, practical tips and strategies targeting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender market.They have appeared in worldwide media outlets including Fortune, CNBC, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, Ad Age, New York Times and Washington Post. For more information visit

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is the 13th largest and one of the fastest-growing market research firms in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its North American, European and Asian offices, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in online surveys, register at

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When Homophobes bear false witness: The ENDA Edition

Desperate Right-Wing Rhetoric Becomes Increasingly Shrill, Hate-Filled

WASHINGTON -- Homophobic right wing groups are engaged in a frenzy of lies over legislation designed to end workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans. However, the falsehoods and rhetoric have become increasingly laced with hate-filled slurs and desperate attempts to create an atmosphere of divisiveness.

On Sunday, despite numerous documented cases of workplace discrimination against gays, Tom McClusky, Vice President of the Family Research Council, (a religious right group obsessed with gay issues), refused to admit that these cases happen. He told the Associated Press that ENDA “is affording extra protection to a group that has not been disadvantaged."

Mr. McCluskey should meet Officer Michael Carney and take a moment to listen to his story at: If McCluskey had attended the hearing on ENDA last week, he would have heard Officer Carney’s story of being fired for no other reason than because he was gay. Fortunately, Carney prevailed in his lawsuit because Massachusetts offers workplace protection. However, had he lived in 31 states in this country he would have had absolutely no legal recourse for this discriminatory firing.

Additionally, the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA reported findings from a 2007 study ( showing a clearly uneven playing field for many GLBT workers:

· At least one in 10 gay, lesbian, and bisexual people surveyed report suffering employment discrimination.
· At least 10 percent of straight coworkers report witnessing discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual colleagues.
· The number of sexual orientation discrimination complaints filed is similar to the number of complaints filed for sex or racial discrimination in states that have laws ensuring gays and lesbians are treated equally at work.

(To view the complete report visit:
Matt Barber, who works at an organization called Concerned Women of America, is equally obsessed with gay issues. In his anti-ENDA rant, Barber issued an e-mail laced with homophobic slurs stating “the facts show that homosexual behavior is changeable” among other falsehoods. Barber would be hard-pressed to actually document his assertions, but, when the homophobes are on the attack, they do not let facts interfere. And instead resort to outlandish claims that have no bases in science or fact and masks schoolyard type of attacks on transgender people’s appearance as credible arguments against federal legislation.

HRC’s President Joe Solmonese said, “Fortunately, the leadership in Congress is preparing a rational debate on ENDA. The religious rights hysterical gay-bashing is decidedly un-Christian behavior. But, homophobic hypocrites have no boundaries.”

Solmonese added, “We already know that hate is a cottage industry for the religious right. We know that lies and distortions are key to their lobbying strategy, too. The rhetoric of hate increasingly falls on deaf ears and their lies and falsehoods can also be obliterated with facts. We don’t know why these self designated religious leaders choose the path of hate and lies. But make no mistake, we don’t intend to let them get away with it.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Monday, September 17, 2007

HRC Releases Their 2007 Corporate Equality Index - Corporate Quotes

Today, the Human Rights Campaign released the results of their Corporate Equality Index which measures the inclusiveness policies for GLBT business professionals.

Here are a couple of quotes related to the topic:

“More businesses than ever before have recognized the value of a diverse and dedicated workforce,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “More importantly, these employers understand that discrimination against GLBT workers will ultimately hurt their ability to compete in the global marketplace.”

“McDermott is committed to attracting and retaining exceptional talent to our global practice. With this commitment in mind, McDermott has prioritized the development of strong diversity programs and practices, and the Firm has achieved great momentum in recent years,”
commented Harvey Freishtat, Chairman of McDermott Will & Emery.

Demonstrating that it continues to be an enlightened work environment for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP has again achieved a perfect 100-percent score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for 2007, earning the distinction of being one of the “Best Places to Work for GLBT Equality.”

“Yahoo! is proud to be part of HRC’s Corporate Equality Index and to be in the company of a pioneering group that has stepped up to create a more inclusive work environment for today’s diverse employee groups,” said Cammie Dunaway, chief marketing officer and executive sponsor of the LGBT employee group at Yahoo!. “We’re committed to making Yahoo! a great place to work and remain focused on offering progressive employment policies and benefits while recruiting the best talent from all backgrounds. We value our tens of millions of LGBT consumers around the world and are always looking for ways to further connect them to the information, passions, and communities that matter most to them, on our Yahoo! LGBT Pride site and across our network."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

National Weekend Stories on ENDA, Southern Comfort Conference

An Update Provided By The Human Rights Campaign

I wanted to bring a couple of major stories that appeared over the weekend to your attention:

1) Late Friday evening the Associated Press posted the first major, national mainstream media story leading up to the ENDA mark-up that is believed to be happening this upcoming week in the US House. I have copied the story below and it can also be found online at: The story starts to bring into focus the political landscape around the legislation and, more importantly, gives a sneak preview of the right-wing’s messaging around the bill.

2) Earlier this evening, the AP posted their second major story around the ENDA vote in the House. This story was written by the AP’s Northeast reporter and therefore focuses more on Rep. Frank and Sen. Kennedy but the story will no doubt find its way across the country and prompt other potential localized follow-up stories. You can view the article either below or online at:

3) In the Sunday edition of the LA Times, a story profiled the Southern Comfort Conference’s Trans Career Expo that happened this weekend in Atlanta. HRC’s Communications Team provided the SCC with additional resources for press outreach and was able to secure this LA Times story about the SCC. You can read the story in Sunday’s LA Times either below or online at:,1,925955.story?coll=la-news-a_section

As ENDA makes its way through the House this week we will be sure to try and keep you updated with the best information we have coming out of Congress. Also, please be on the lookout for advisories about potential communications activities around the bill’s mark-up.


Brad Luna
Communications Director
Human Rights Campaign

Safety In Numbers

It’s been said many times that business is the social change agent that ultimately affects us politically. Thank God for that. In order for businesses to increase their sales volume, they have to have an understanding of who their buyers are and make adjustments to their internal corporate culture as well as their products and services to meet the needs of their customers.

Corporate America has made incredible strides toward
streamlining their companies to match their customers. The HRC’s Corporate Equality Index reports higher amounts of companies that score 100% every year. Equality Forum just produced recent numbers indicating that improvements are now being made towards a better workplace environment for our transgendered co-workers.

So as corporate America does their part, GLBT professionals must also step up to the plate by
participating in the various surveys and studies that are being conducted on our community. Since our demographic is not even considered in the US Census, we can only speculate as to how large the GLBT community is in America. Companies like Witeck-Combs Communications, Harris Interactive, Opuscomm Group and others calculate annual surveys which are then utilized by corporations to beef up their connection to our community.

Our government has a very delayed “keep up with the Joneses” relationship with corporate America. Although it may take them a year and a day to drift towards the obvious trends, they eventually see the light. ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) would have stayed on the cutting room floor
without the collaborative efforts of the Human Rights Campaign and our very honorable “counters.”

Whether you’re an out professional or questioning whether to have your second coming out as an out professional, when that form comes in your email - FILL IT OUT.