In celebration of Pride Month, the Mintel Trends team is spotlighting five global initiatives that celebrate inclusivity and progress in the LGBTQIA+ community.
It’s worth noting that these initiatives took place throughout the year, as advocacy doesn’t just happen within the month of June. To learn more about Mintel Trends and the evolving consumer behaviour, markets and brand initiatives around the globe, click here.
Gender Recognition – South Africa
South Africa is revising its national identity system to increase inclusivity and recognise different gender identities, making it the first African country to do so. The identity numbers used on South Africa’s identity cards were used to make racial and gender sorting easier during apartheid. These were swept away when a democratic government came into power in 1994. However, today one number, the seventh digit of the 13-digit national ID, remains the same. This refers to a person’s gender using either male or female and has been a topic of debate and lobbying by the country’s LGBTQ+ community. The Department of Home Affairs is planning on consulting this community to discuss its proposal to include an alternative digit or the letter X to accommodate the 530,000 South Africans who identify as non-binary.
Consumers are embracing their own individuality and challenging outdated stereotypes regarding gender norms and gender identities. This is seeing brands offer more gender-neutral clothing and BPC products to meet demands while making them more inclusive. There is also a growing movement amongst consumers to be respected and empowered by brands and authorities. So, by acknowledging people’s individualities, whether linked to gender identity, race or disability status, this is being achieved and will help make society more equal and inclusive.
LGBT+pedia – Mexico
Entrepreneurs from Jalisco, one of the most culturally significant states in Mexico, have created LGBT+pedia, an encyclopedia exploring sexual diversity. This encyclopedia aims to help break the myths and legends that have been generated over time around the LGBTQ+ community, and to guide around gender identity and sexual orientation.
LGBTQ+ communities around the world are increasingly breaking down barriers to gain equality. However, in more conservative and traditional societies such as Mexico, there are still many taboos to overcome for the LGBTQ+ community, who are often segregated by their own families, friends and even in work environments. Despite this, in a more open society, these underrepresented consumers are finding a more solid and organized community of peers that provide support, protection and acceptance. As the winds of change are strong, many organizations are directly targeting these under-served communities and are helping them to find a voice and support in our global society.
Redefining Masculine Clothing – UK, US
Both& is a new clothing brand that’s designing clothes specifically for the transmasculine and non-gender-conforming community. The company is founded by Finnegan Shepard, a trans man who struggled to find clothes that fit him properly. Both& is launching with a focus on staples and will offer small batches of capsule lines, with the first capsule being three basic T-shirts. The T-shirts range in cost from $39-$45. The company is putting the focus on fit before it puts more attention to various style offerings, such as expanded colours or prints. Both& plans to release new collections every 6-8 weeks, but will keep them small in quantity to promote sustainability.
It’s never the size of a disruptive brand that determines its relevancy, but the distinct space and purpose it shines a light on. Both& is focusing on quality fit and accessibility over quantity and it’s through that decision that the brand inherently demonstrates a priority of being a sustainable brand. When consumers understand the context behind a business decision, and can inherently see the ethical value, it counters immediate availability being the prime purchase motivator. Community is the core pillar of this brand and that sense of connection will be what the brand has to maintain and prioritize throughout its business journey.
More Inclusive Healthcare for Folx – US
FOLX is a queer-centric digital health platform created as an alternative to the traditional US healthcare system (FOLX is HSA/FSA-eligible but does not accept insurance) in order to provide more convenient, judgment-free services to queer and trans patients. FOLX members receive unlimited virtual access to queer and trans clinicians (messaging and one-on-one telehealth appointments), medications and any necessary supplies (eg needles and syringes for HRT) shipped directly to their home, at-home lab work kits, letters for document name change and surgery, and more. Currently, FOLX offers estrogen and testosterone hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and erectile dysfunction treatment, and will soon offer STI testing and treatment, PrEP, and more.
As we know, our health is personal and private, and the US healthcare system has a dizzying array of jargon, fine print, and financial hurdles that can make seeking care frustrating and difficult. That frustration reaches new heights when patients, commonly queer and trans folks, feel judged and mistreated by their providers. FOLX is centering the concerns of the queer and trans community in order to make care more convenient, feasible, and comfortable because we know that negative experiences at the doctor’s office deter patients – of any demographic – from returning, and that creates a potentially dangerous situation for individuals. This is a great example of intentionally creating an alternative space and offering that better suits a given community, and also brings solutions to the market much faster than waiting on industry to change.
A Journey Like Many Others – India
Bhima Jewellers has rolled out a new TV commercial featuring the journey of a trans woman as she begins her transition and ends as her family helps her prepare for her wedding day. The beautifully shot film, titled Pure as Love and conceptualised by Animal, focuses on the positive of the transition journey as the main character becomes who she is, with her family behind her at each step.
Every year during Pride month, brands worldwide launch rainbow-clad products and campaigns that proclaim that ‘love is love’ and that everyone should be proud to be themselves. While the message is good, many of those brands save all of their ‘diversity and acceptance’ communications for that one month then put the rainbows and representation away for next year, which doesn’t really help to normalise the LGBTQ+ community day-to-day. Bhima Jewellers, on the other hand, has chosen to portray a story that resonates with its brand values and which it will use long-term, which happens to feature a transgender person. By telling these stories more consistently and by focusing on the beauty and love within them rather than telling only sad stories of discrimination, brands can help consumers overcome their own biases and connect with marginalised communities on a deeper, more human level.