I have written about certain demographic groups that are important to marketers and advertisers. One of these is the gay and lesbian population. Figures show that approximately 10% of any population falls into the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender group. It is important to authentically represent any group when you photograph them.
The US gay community is one that has a very high average family income of over $100,000 with single members averaging around $80,000 in the US. Many in the group travel extensively for business and vacation. Over 70% hold a valid passport in the US while only 25% of the general US population has passports.
A certain percentage of the GLBT group is in committed relationships with young children at home. A large percentage of the gay and lesbian population are heads of household. Gay families should be photographed in the same fashion as straight families: interaction with their children, getting them off to school, having family meals and vacations. Images of gay couples can show positive and healthy relationships in fun settings. Show gay weddings, vacations, family life and just great shots of couples shopping, partying and around the house. Sexual orientation is personal matter and just as we have images of straight people in all aspects of life, so shall we show the gay community. An over-reliance on stereotypes can mark your images as not authentic.
Don’t just concentrate on shooting images of the more outrageous of the out. And just because people are gay, doesn’t mean that you have to always depict them kissing or that the only images of gay males have to be homoerotic. I have a gay friend who once said to me, “Why do the only photos I see of gay people on stock sites always show them in intimate situations? Just like everyone else, there is a lot more to my life than sex.”
I know that this subject will be a controversial one. Therefore I ask that you keep your comments respectful. We are a community site and have the obligation and right to address all members of our community and all image needs that are in the marketplace. And if you are gay...get your friends and family members together and plan a photo shoot.
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