Most Gays Today Live Extraordinarily Ordinary Lives: Starcom MediaVest Group and Logo's Beyond Demographics™ LGBTid Study

Apr 24, 2012
By ViacomCBS Staff

The LGBT community is no longer a walled garden within a metropolitan city, but a vast collection of distinct subgroups -- the majority of whom live integrated lives in all parts of mainstream culture.

This is the overarching conclusion from the Beyond Demographics™ LGBTid Study done by media agency Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) in collaboration with Logo, Viacom's entertainment brand for gay trendsetters. The study, including a quantitative element featuring over 1,000 participants, identifies a spectrum of eight distinct groups within the overall gay community in the U.S.

Four of these archetype groups, representing strong and varying degrees of integration in the mainstream, make up nearly two-thirds (67%) of the LGBT community in the study: Out & Proud, Beyond The Alphabet, Initiators and Just Who I Am. In addition, a fifth group called Champions, comprised of heterosexual allies, has manifested into a unique identity essential to the LGBT story.

The LGBT community is also far more diverse than what most people think. In the quantitative portion of the study, over 40% of the sample reported back as "non-White," which is slightly higher than the most recent 2010 U.S. Census population estimates.

And a vast majority live media-centric lives, focused on finding good content on any platform. Digital activities including search, interacting with friends and family on email, social media and Skype were all top choices for this segment. Over 60 percent of the community gives online their "complete attention" as a lean-in activity.

The study is the latest under SMG's umbrella Beyond Demographics™ initiative to drive transformational change in the advertising industry's view and value of multi-cultured consumers. Encompassing both qualitative and quantitative methods, the effort kicked off in New York in June 2011 with a consortium/symposium of cultural translators from a diverse background of expertise and experience, whose primary charge was to help lay a foundation of a future focused LGBT framework.

"Our big 'a-ha' moment happened when all the insights and data showed how ordinary LGBT life is today," said SMG's Esther Franklin, Executive Vice President and head of SMG America's Experience Strategy. "For many parts of the LGBT community, people are just living everyday lives. We haven't seen that insight portrayed until very recently."

"Our focus at Logo has always been to develop shows that reflect the full lives of our audience," said Lisa Sherman, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Logo. "Partnering with Starcom MediaVest Group on this study confirms what we've heard from our viewers on all of our media platforms -- they want programs that reflect their full-life experiences and multiple interests. So, that's what we'll aim to give to them as they continue to live fully integrated lives in all parts of mainstream culture."

Additional insights from the quantitative portion of the study reveal a diverse and relationship-oriented snapshot of the current LGBT community:

  • When asked about their current relationship status, nearly half (49%) are married, in a relationship or living with a partner. This does not include those who are divorced, widowed or separated from their partners.
  • Over 40% of the respondents belong to an organized religion. 80% consider themselves spiritual. And only 3% report feeling unwelcome in the church of their faith.
  • Over 20% of respondents are parents.
  • 53 percent conveyed that they don't hide being gay, but that for them it's not a priority to showcase it. And only 30 percent indicated that they preferred living and socializing in exclusively gay and lesbian communities.

Below are some details on the largest LGBT sub-groups living integrated lives:

"Out & Proud"

Living boldly without apology.

"Beyond The Alphabet"

The embodiment of the future, this group shuns gender and orientation labels and questions the use of "old" language.


Motivators for political change and equality efforts, both young and old.

"Just Who I Am"

Sexual orientation is folded into their everyday lives, not hidden yet not prioritized either. Authentic living supported by a large network of friends and family.

About Beyond Demographics™

The Beyond Demographics™ initiative launched in 2007 under the direction of Esther "ET" Franklin, EVP, Director of Cultural Identities for Starcom MediaVest Group, to transcend demographics in order to uncover the unique communities that exist within each culture and their distinct media preferences and consumption habits. The first iteration looked at the African American population and revealed 12 archetypes of Black Identity. In 2008, SMG launched Chinese American DiscoverRe™, an exploratory study of the values and cultural nuances of the Chinese American community. In 2009, the Latino Identity study showcased 12 separate identities within the Latino American spectrum. For more information, visit

About Starcom MediaVest Group

Ranked one of the largest brand communications groups in the world, Starcom MediaVest Group ( encompasses an integrated network of highly specialized consumer contact companies. SMG's global organization includes strategic marketing communication architects who are highly specialized in media management, response media, internet and digital communications, as well as multicultural, entertainment, gaming, sports, sponsorship, event marketing and media. With nearly 6,200 employees in 110 offices worldwide, SMG delivers brand-building results for many of the world's leading companies. It is part of Paris-based Publicis Groupe S.A.

About Logo

Logo celebrates one-of-a-kind personalities, unconventional stories and discovering what's next -- all through a mix of original and acquired entertainment that's outrageous, smart, and inclusive. Entertaining a social, savvy audience of gay trendsetters, Logo also attracts a straight audience that wants to be ahead of the curve. Launched in 2005, Logo is in 50 million homes across the United States, and is complemented by a federation of online properties, including,,,, and Logo is part of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), which features a roster of popular and highly targeted brands that include MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and Spike TV.

Abby Dow
Starcom MediaVest Group
(312) 220-4909
Brett Henne
(212) 846-6752