Why "Welcome" the LGBTQ Community and their Allies?
The Welcoming Project was created to encourage businesses, health care/service providers, organizations, and churches to show their patrons that all are welcome. Our signs indicate "All Are Welcome" no matter who you are. Although the rainbow flag is the traditional sign for gay rights and straight allies often recognize this as a symbol of acceptance and support, we like to think that the "All Are Welcome" message shows your patrons that you support everyone, no matter their gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, etc. "This flag says that people who have different opinions can voice them freely. It represents anyone of any beliefs, any religion, any sexuality, any color" (Micah Silver, see page 12 in Perrotti and Westheimer, 2001).
of the hate crimes
reported to the police
by sexual orientation bias.
There are other important reasons to show the LGBTQ community and their allies that you support them. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation bias are of growing concern in the United States, in Oklahoma, and in Norman. Because of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a federal law that protects those from hate crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability (Public Law No. 111-84, 2009), every year, the FBI releases a report identifying hate crimes by jurisdiction and bias motivation type. In Norman, OK, nearly 1/3 of the hate crimes reported to the police were motivated by sexual orientation bias, a significantly higher rate when compared to overall U.S. statistics. Find out more >>
Showing LGBTQ youth you support them is essential. Research indicates that 35% of LGB youth report suicide attempts, compared to fewer than 10% of their heterosexual peers. In addition, the recent suicides (all occurring in the latter part of 2010) of teenagers Tyler Clementi, Corey Jackson, Justin Aaberg, William (Billy) Lucas, Seth Walsh, and Asher Brown—all subjected to anti-gay harassment and bullying—suggest the need for understanding how we can fight such negative and damaging prejudices that sometimes prove fatal.
Furthermore, the 2010 suicide of Zach Harrington, a young gay Norman citizen, following the September 28, 2011, Norman City Council meeting where one Norman citizen said he "moved to Norman because he thought it was the kind of place that would NEVER ACCEPT the LGBTQ community," demonstrates how the “toxic” environment in Norman may sometimes prove to be fatal.
A small gesture (like displaying a Welcoming Sign) can have an impact not only on LGBTQ people, but their straight allies who also support diversity and Welcoming Places. In a time where LGBTQ people and their straight allies are openly discriminated against in our communities and in the legislature, we feel The Welcoming Project and the "All are Welcome" signs are of great import.
Why Welcoming Businesses in Norman —
and across the United States?
As the LGBTQ community continues to grow in Norman, OK, and throughout the United States, LGBTQ individuals and allies are seeking businesses with a welcoming image. You can show this community of more than 9 million (that's nearly 4% of the U.S. population!) Americans that they are welcome in your establishment by displaying the ALL ARE WELCOME sign at your business and on your website.
Download the PDF TWP Brochure to share with others.
Market research studies show that a visible welcoming sign has positive impacts on both heterosexual and homosexual consumers.
Both local and global businesses that have created advertising initiatives to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community have increased their revenue 10-25%.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization and works toward equality in the workplace. Since 2002, the HRC has conducted a study rating American workplaces on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality.
The 2011 report shows a dramatic increase in the number of companies who support LGBTQ people in their employment policies.
337 businesses achieved the top rating of 100% in 2011, compared with 305 with top ratings in the 2010 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The primary source of information for the CEI rating is the CEI survey, which collects key pieces of information to calculate an employer’s score and other information that gauges trends and best practices among all businesses or particular industries. Collectively, these top businesses employ over 8.3 million full-time U.S. workers. When the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index was launched in 2002, only 13 companies received 100 percent.
What does this mean for my business? The bottom line is that the consumer market is changing to support LGBTQ individuals. Top companies are changing their policies. Showing LGBTQ individuals that you welcome them as patrons in your establishment is a strong show of support.
Do Welcoming Signs Really Work?
Yes! Multiple studies of business marketing methods show that both heterosexuals and homosexuals are more likely to prefer products that are produced by welcoming companies and are more likely to purchase products from welcoming stores. Among gay and lesbian consumers, 8 out of 10 are more likely to buy products from companies they know are welcoming.
Could a Welcoming Sign Be "Bad for Business"?
Studies show that welcoming signs have a positive effect on homosexuals and have either a neutral or positive effect on heterosexuals. No recent studies have shown a negative impact of welcoming signs on businesses.
LGBTQ Consumer Market
The LGBTQ population has an estimated buying power of $835 billion for 2011.
—The Wall Street Journal
- 88% own a car
- 71% are college graduates
- 69% spend $100/week at restaurants
- 66% have a household income of >$50K
- 60% own a home
- 46% live with a partner
- 37% make purchasing decisions at work
Why Welcoming Health Care/Service Providers?
From The Human Rights Campaign 2012 report PDF >>
Health care and service providers can also greatly benefit from welcoming LGBTQ patients and clients in their offices. Being welcoming enables them to give the best care possible to as many people as possible. Displaying an "All Are Welcome" sign can help LGBTQ people to feel more welcomed and may encourage open dialogue between LGBTQ patients and health care providers, allowing LGBTQ patients to receive the best care possible.
The need for equitable, knowledgeable, sensitive and welcoming health care, free from discrimination based on LGBTQ status, should be paramount as evidenced in Lambda Legal’s landmark 2010 study When Health Care Isn’t Caring. They found that 73% of transgender respondents and 29% of lesbian, gay and bisexual respondents reported that they believed they would be treated differently by medical personnel because of their LGBT status. Equally disturbing, 52% of transgender respondents and 9% of lesbian, gay and bisexual respondents reported that they believed they would actually be refused medical services because they are LGBT.
The Human Rights Campaign sees the value in welcoming LGBTQ patients/clients at health care facilities. They regularly offer LGBTQ Health Webinars to help health care and service providers learn how to welcome LGBTQ patients and clients. The HRC also offers the Healthcare Equality Index as a resource for health care facilities that seek to provide equitable, inclusive care to LGBTQ Americans and for LGBTQ Americans seeking health care facilities with a commitment to their care. More resources for LGBTQ patients are also available from the HRC.