For their second collaboration in six months, Getty Images and the media advocacy organization GLAAD have teamed-up for another exclusive campaign to better showcase the LGBTQ community. Unlike last time, this new guidance is not just for photographers and those who employ them, but for the brands and editorial outlets that depend on images from the most iconic photo agencies in the world.
The new effort is aimed at increasing visibility while challenging old, outdated tropes, with the launch of their LGBTQ Guidebook for Inclusive Visual Storytelling for brands and media businesses.
This new guidance, says GLAAD in a statement, is a direct response to recent research conducted by Getty Images that revealed only 21% of people around the world see LGBTQ people represented regularly, and when they do, those images reinforced harmful, clichéd stereotypes:
- 30% of gay men were depicted as ‘feminine,’ 28% as ‘flamboyant’
- 29% depicted lesbian women as ‘masculine’
- 29% of images featured rainbow flags
“While we know that increased representation positively impacts increased acceptance, our research has also shown that LGBTQ+ individuals remain grossly underrepresented in media,” said Tristen Norman, Head of Creative Insights for the Americas at Getty Images and iStock, in a joint statement with GLAAD. “Even when this community is represented, businesses and media rely too heavily upon stereotypical, inauthentic imagery.”
This is an even bigger problem overseas, especially in countries where LGBTQ acceptance lags, noted Norman.
“Our research suggests that LGBTQ+ people in countries with less LGBTQ+ representation in the visuals that surround them, including media and advertising, actually report experiencing more anti-LGBTQ discrimination and bias—for example, in Germany, where representation is lower, discrimination is higher, as opposed to in the U.S.,” Norman said. “Which is to say that authentic imagery which accurately and positively captures the nuances of this diverse community is not only needed, but can have a positive impact globally.”
This new collaboration comes on the heels of last month’s launch of GLAAD’s partnership with Procter & Gamble. That campaign, called The Visibility Project, hopes to inspire greater inclusion and acceptance of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people through more focused and inclusive marketing and advertising; Not just better quality and more quantity but also ads that feature more diverse representation.
P&G and GLAAD announced in May that according to a recent study, nearly 81% of advertisers feared an “inauthentic execution of LGBTQ people would lead to a larger backlash than not including them at all” and nearly 80% found it “difficult to adequately represent the LGBTQ community because the community is complicated and has many nuances.”
The Guidebook is specifically targeted at addressing those concerns, with advice such as this:
“We are More than Pride and Protest–beyond the Pride march and rainbow flags. Consider other conceptual ways to positively portray the LGBTQ+ community. Think authentic daily lives, at work, in school, with friends, in community. How do you show personal style, beyond flamboyance and ‘LGBTQ+ celebration.’”
“The guidance we’ve created with Getty Images seeks to give brands and businesses of all sizes the confidence they need to depict the LGBTQ+ community in inclusive, authentic and thoughtful ways, without fear of backlash or fear of ‘getting it wrong’,” said Nick Adams, Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD, in the joint statement with Getty Images. Adams knows this from the inside out; he is a trans man. “Instead of shying away from depictions or relying on stereotypes, we’ve created guidance on how to authentically represent the LGBTQ+ community in ways that will create lasting connections. Increasing representation of LGBTQ+ people in your communications demonstrates your intentional emphasis around diversity and makes a public commitment of your support for this community.”
“To create real change for LGBTQ+ representation, we need the advertising and media industry to act,” added Norman of Getty Images. “Creatives and marketing professionals have the opportunity to not just encourage the creation of this kind of imagery, but also to choose to use it.”