Engaging with LGBTQ+ Communities

At Mustard, we thrive off amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ communities and have successfully engaged with LGBTQ+ communities across a range of topics over the years. In this latest blog, we share some of our top tips.

It’s not uncommon for some people to feel hesitant about engaging with LGBTQ+ communities because they may fear saying the wrong thing or inadvertently causing offence. This fear can stem from a lack of understanding or familiarity with the communities, as well as concerns about being perceived as insensitive or discriminatory.

At Mustard, all our research is designed to be inclusive and respectful of all participants, regardless of who they are. That said, we recognise the diversity and intersectionality within the LGBTQ+ communities, and so we go beyond the basic requirements of professional market research. Here are four of our top tips for successfully engaging with LGBTQ+ communities:

Select a diverse team of members and allies:

Ensure that the project team is knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ issues and is open to learning from the unique perspectives of each participant It is important that none of the team are ignorant or prejudiced towards LGBTQ+ people, as this is only likely to make participants uncomfortable and compromise the quality and aims of the research.

    Use a LGBTQ+ face validation panel:

    Research materials should be designed to be inclusive and culturally relevant for the LGBTQ+ communities. Consider using an LGBTQ+ face validation panel to verify all research materials before they are used. The aim of this is to check the appropriateness of the language and terminology used, as well as understanding of the questions amongst the LGBTQ+ communities.

    Adopt an empowerment strategy:

    Make it clear to participants that their contributions will amplify the voices of under-represented groups in society and help to improve outcomes for the LGBTQ+ communities. Key aspects of an empowerment strategy to consider, are:

    • Being transparent
    • Approaching/screening people in a sensitive manner
    • Ensuring participant confidentiality
    • Creating a safe environment
    • Offering a feedback mechanism
    • Sharing the findings and impact of participation
    • Expressing gratitude

    Do not treat LGBTQ+ as a homogeneous group of people:

    There is a lot of diversity (and indeed, intersectionality) within the LGBTQ+ communities, and our experience has shown that there can be conflict between these communities. It is therefore important to consider different ways of engaging with the communities. A flexible, mixed method approach is likely to be most successful. Be guided by participants and what works best for them (remember that not everyone is comfortable being ‘out’ in a public setting).

    If you are conducting market research with LGBTQ+ communities, we recommend that you look at the LGBT Foundation’s ‘Good practice guide to researching LGBTQ+ communities and issues’ – it’s an excellent resource. You can also contact us (, and we’d be happy to provide further guidance.