June 30, 2023 9:00am

June is Pride Month. Many Lafayette Power Poll voters back businesses that back the LGBTQ community

Others try not to wade into the ongoing culture wars

Photo of Adam Daigle
Lafayette, LA Correspondent
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The month of June is almost over, and Pride festivities have come and gone in the city of Lafayette and many others areas.

It’s a good time to pose the question to Lafayette Power Poll voters: How well are people who identify as LGBTQ accepted in the Lafayette? And how does the non-LGBTQ people view marketing efforts by Target and other companies toward the LGBTQ community?

The backdrop, of course, is the culture wars playing out on cable news and social media everywhere involving Target removing some of it Pride merchandise due to threats against employees and the firestorm that spun out of Bud Light’s deal with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney.

After those headlines and others like it, everyone took sides. It often left businesses -- who are often merely trying to generate revenue that is neither gay nor straight – often times in the middle.

Take this from small business owner Jermela Haynes, owner of Sweet Envie bakery on Moss Street.

“I've noticed that if you openly support/comment about a certain topic or cause that can be the downfall of your business,” she wrote. “It's a shame that we can't effectively run our business and have our own like/dislike/opinion regarding anything.

“I personally went out on a limb and made a post in honor of Black History Month and Pride Month. Sometimes you can't worry about what the naysayers think. You just have to stay true to yourself.”

Nationwide the LGBTQ community has made significant strides in acceptance, polls have indicated. One report from Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation in its recent Accelerating Acceptance 2023 report that surveyed non-LGBTQ adults respondents indicated:

84% favored equal rights for the LGTBQ community.

  • 75% feel comfortable seeing LGBTQ people in advertisements.
  • 73% feel comfortable seeing LGBTQ characters included in TV shows or movies.
  • 70% also agreed that companies should publicly support and include the LGBTQ community through hiring, advertising and sponsorships.

How do Power Poll residents feel on the topic during Pride month? First, let’s start with the basics. A super majority of respondents – 76% -- indicated either they or someone in their family or a friend identifies as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or are questioning. Another 20% said they were not and knew of no one who identify as such.

But when it comes to businesses that make a statement of inclusion of the LGBTQ community, Power Poll residents indicated they either don’t get involved in the culture wars or will support a business that does so. Just over half – 54% -- indicated they would not let anything influence their decision where to shop or what to buy based on what a company did, but 37% indicated they would make an effort to support the business.

Only 6% indicated they would not support a business that makes such a move.

Should businesses do that? Just over half – 53% -- said they support the right for businesses to make efforts to support LGBTQ people through advertising, sponsorships and hiring practices. Another 25% said no, and 22% indicated they were not sure.

When asked if they feel comfortable or uncomfortable seeing LGBTQ adults with children in advertisements, TV shows or other mass media, 65% indicated they are very comfortable while 13% indicated they weren’t sure. Another 16% indicated they would look the other way or that they were uncomfortable.

The poll comes after Lafayette held Pride festivities downtown with a parade and other activities along Jefferson Street. When asked if they attended the event, 63% said they did not, 20% indicated they would have but had a conflict, 13% said they did and 4% said they were unaware.

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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