Over the Rainbow: Allyship Through Healthcare Inclusion

Trends / Wellness
Catherine Falls Commercial
Gabrielle Pedro Fredrick
Jun 15, 2023
As Pride approaches and we continue to push for more authentic representation, how can brands communicate allyship and inclusivity to their customers without falling victim to rainbow washing1? Consider more nuanced visual choices, especially in areas that are crucial to the LGBTQ+ community but lack representation. When it comes to health and wellness, less than 1% of healthcare images in 2022 feature people who are LGBTQ+, with even less representation for LGBTQ+ healthcare workers.

More than 1 in 8 LGBTQ+ people live in a place where doctors can deny2 them treatment and representation in healthcare imagery can help them find safe spaces for affirming care. Our proprietary VisualGPS survey data finds that more than three‑quarters of LGBTQ+ people are more likely to think of businesses favorably when they acknowledge the issues and hardships customers face. We find that the current visual landscape of healthcare favors women or female‑presenting people, so remember to be inclusive of other identities who require affirming healthcare, such as LGBTQ+ men3 or people who are nonbinary or transgender.
Mental health is of particular importance within the LGBTQ+ community, particularly in a time where the current political climate4 is taking an extra toll on the mental health of transgender people. Consider representing different facets of healthcare, such as treatment for mental health conditions, mental wellness, healthy eating, or family planning. Highlight an understanding of the necessity for mental healthcare within the community by choosing visuals that show people within the LGBTQ+ community in individual or group therapy, or practicing self‑care through clean eating or exercise, regardless of body shape or size.

There remains low representation for LGBTQ+ people receiving healthcare, especially gender affirming care5 – despite large healthcare disparities6 for the LGBTQ+ community. Further VisualGPS data implies that 72% of LGBTQ+ people make a point to only spend money with businesses whose values align with their own. Demonstrate an understanding of gender affirming care through visuals of transgender people undergoing hormone therapy or perhaps top surgery; even simple doctors’ visits or check‑ups. Increased LGBTQ+ representation in healthcare marketing can help address health disparities, combat discrimination, meet consumer preferences, and create inclusive and affirming healthcare environments for the LGBTQ+ community.
Works Cited
1) Superficial corporate attempts to show LGBTQ solidarity might be doing more harm than good. Our latest data analysis proves it. (Fortune)
2) More than 1 in 8 LGBTQ people live in states where doctors can refuse to treat them (NBC News)
3) Gay Men and Trauma: The Big and Little Ts (Penn Medicine News)
4) Anti‑trans bills take toll on mental health (Axios)
5) What Is Gender‑Affirming Healthcare and Why Is It Important? (Healthline)
6) 7 Major Health Disparities Affecting the LGBTQ+ Community (Health)

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