Update: Presentation slides are now available at the bottom of this story.
The LGBT Business, Marketing, & Technology Conference held at the Renaissance Hotel in Seattle, proved to be a fountain of knowledge for professionals in the LGBT community. Marvo Reguindin and Scott Mailheau represented INBA at the conference last Friday, absorbing insights and ideas to expand our chamber’s influence.
Among presentations from local advertising agencies, social media gurus, and champions of the LGBT community, one presentation in particular gave an exceptional glance into the State of our LGBT Community.
Gary J. Gates is the Williams Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law and author of The Gay and Lesbian Atlas. He publishes extensively on the demographic and economic characteristics of the LGBT population. He holds a PhD from the Heinz College, School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University, a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vincent Seminary and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
Dr. Gates’ presentation focused on trends and statistics regarding the overall LGBT population in the United States. Parts of the Kinsey Reports regarding diversity in sexual orientations are frequently used to support the common estimate of 10% LGBT-identifying individuals in the general population. However, as Dr. Gates and many other sources note, a more accurate estimate is in the 4%-6% range. As the current generation ages, the younger “Millenials” will drive the overall number of self-identifying LGBT individuals upward. Dr. Gates mentions that it is important to note that the number of LGBT individuals is not necessarily increasing, but their willingness to come out and identify among this demographic is stronger than ever before.
According to Dr. Gates, the nationwide spending power of the LGBT community is estimated at $800 Billion, but this draws an imperfect picture of this demographic. In reality, LGBT communities face lower household income and generally higher unemployment than non-LGBT. A key takeaway for INBA and all business chambers is that employment outreach is crucial to the success of our communities and our members.
Overall, says Dr. Gates, the political climates and acceptance within the United States is driving higher rates of self-identification for LGBT individuals. While the percentage is not that relevant, the important fact is that the connections between LGBT and non-LGBT individuals are growing stronger.
Slides from the presentation are available below. The end of the URL is a good indicator of the presentation’s topic.