How LGBT+ Friendly Are the Biggest Stores Around?

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The LGBT+ movement is an ongoing fight for equality. One of the small ways we’ve seen some success in this battle is through the emergence of LGBT+ products in our normal high street stores. I decided to see just how easy it is to access these products and how they compare to others available. 

I focused my search online, as I decided that was the best way to see the full range of products each store had, as many chains will stock different products in each shop. I also tried my best not to search specifically for LGBT+ directed products to see how easy it was to find any.

John Lewis

John Lewis
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John Lewis
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John Lewis

John Lewis provided these pillow cases, one for a ‘Mrs and Mrs’ and one for a ‘Mr and Mr’. They were very sweet and had the same design as those for a ‘Mr and Mrs’, so no visible differences there. In order to find these I browsed in the ‘Gifts for Couples’ section, and came across them fairly easily. They were £12 in price, the same as the equivalent pillows for a ‘Mr and Mrs’ pillowcase. So far, so good.

However, when I browsed further in the ‘Gifts for Couples’ I noticed more and more the amount of gifts they provided for ‘Mr and Mrs’ couples, without an equivalent for LGBT+ couples. For example, they provided both the below pairs of glasses without an equivalent ‘Mrs and Mrs’ or ‘His and His’ etc.

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John Lewis
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John Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While John Lewis did try, and initially seemed very positive, I did feel let down that they failed to provide any other LGBT+ merchandise, other than the pillowcases.

Notonthehighstreet.com

While this online shop didn’t specifically tailor to same-sex or LGBT+ couples, they did have a wide variety of items that could be personalised. There is absolutely nothing to stop anyone from creating a couple’s gift that is LGBT+ friendly. Some examples can be seen below:

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Notonthehighstreet
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Notonthehighstreet
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Notonthehighstreet

The cushion on the left, £35, could easily be personalised to suit any couple. The same could be applied to the cheeseboard and knife set, for £29.40, and the cushion on the right, for £25.60. While they don’t specifically tailor to either same-sex or opposite-sex couples etc. (which is positive), what I did find is that every single example picture for the products I looked at used a ‘Mr and Mrs’ couple as an example, as is seen in the above three. Does this subtly indicate that they cater to one type of couple more than any other? While it’s nice that they can be flexible with the personalised items, it was disappointing that they didn’t use any other examples.

Etsy

I had a surprise when browsing the Etsy online store. I expected them to have a range of products, and as this seemed to be theme I was proceeding with, I headed to the ‘wedding gifts for couples’ section. The 19th item was a LGBT+ friendly product, and it was a gay pride bracelet intended as a gift, seen below:

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Etsy

It took me a further 27 items to discover this, a personalised print in a frame, which used a same-sex example couple as its first picture:

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Etsy

This was the first item I found which was intended for a LGBT+ male couple, and it was 46 items into the search for ‘wedding gifts for couples’. However, an alternative search that Etsy offered me was ‘gay wedding gift’, so out of interest I clicked and scrolled through the options it had. Immediately, a whole range of LGBT+ friendly products appeared.

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Etsy
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Etsy
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Etsy

These paired gifts, £20.58, £16.41 and £23.26 as seen above, are only a few examples among a myriad of gifts for LGBT+ couples. While perhaps it’s slightly discriminatory to have a separate section for LGBT+ wedding gifts, it did make it easier to find (note that there wasn’t a section entitled ‘Straight wedding gifts’).

What was also nice to see on the Etsy website however was that there seemed to be no discrepancy in the prices between products aimed at LGBT+ couples and products aimed at ‘Mr and Mrs’ couples; neither seemed to be generally more expensive than the other.

Funkypigeon.com

I decided to look to see what the website offered in terms of cards, as this online store focusing on personalized cards, has become one of the biggest crazes in the past few years. The website had a lot to offer, so to narrow it down I again headed to the ‘Wedding cards’ section.

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Funkypigeon
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Funkypigeon

 

All these cards came in a standard size at £2.99, and the second two offered the option to change the ‘Mr and Mrs’ section to something else more personal. However, like the previous stores, I had the option of searching specifically for ‘Same Sex Wedding Cards’. This offered me a lot more options such as these:

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Funkypigeon
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Funkypigeon
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Funkypigeon

Again, the price of the standard size for these was £2.99, so no discrepancy there. They had just as wide a variety as they offered for opposite-sex marriages, so I felt Funky Pigeon did fairly well. Although they did use a filter to separate opposite-sex from same-sex couples, and it did automatically offer opposite-sex wedding cards, generally I couldn’t find many other complaints.

Amazon

Amazon, like the previous stores I’ve looked at, automatically offered products aimed at opposite-sex couples when I searched for ‘wedding gifts’. Products like the ones below were among the first to be offered:

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Amazon
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Amazon
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Amazon

At £12.49, £4.90 and £3.75 respectively, these offer an example of what was the first to be offered by Amazon. However, when I clicked on the offered search of ‘gay wedding gifts’, I was then shown products more suited towards LGBT+ couples.

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Amazon
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Amazon
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Amazon

These products, at £9.50, £12.99 and £14.99 respectively, are some of the limited range I was offered in my search. The items shown above represent only a fraction of the products on offer, but many were similar to these. For example, I couldn’t find any cushions like they offered to opposite-sex couples, and many of the phrases used were the same, such as the ‘Mr/Mrs Right and Mr/Mrs Always Right’ catchphrase. Most of the products were either glasses, mugs or picture frames. Generally, they cost roughly £10 and above, and there were few significantly under £10, which does show a difference to what was offered towards heterosexual couples. I really wasn’t that impressed with Amazon, as I felt for such a big name they could have done a lot better.

Tesco

I really struggled with Tesco. After searching under ‘Wedding gifts’, the only product I could find that could be offered to any couple was this pair of mugs:

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Tesco

However, this felt like a sad offering and I would much rather go to another store that has a range of more personal offerings than purchase these. While Tesco had plenty to offer in terms of ‘His/Hers’ pairings, I couldn’t find a ‘Hers/Hers’ or ‘His/His’ equivalent. Again, when looking at cards, to which I applied the filters ‘Wedding’, ‘Anniversary’ and ‘Congratulations’, I gave up after what felt like an eternity of scrolling. This certainly was a poor effort from Tesco.

So, that sums up this short investigation into what products are on offer for LGBT+ couples. Obviously this is nowhere near exhaustive, and even though not all the stores I looked at don’t seem to offer a lot, and some nothing at all, don’t be discouraged. I could easily have missed products that are exactly what you might want to buy, and there are loads out there once you get looking! I was disappointed that I had to specifically search for LGBT+ products and that they were so often completely separated from non-LGBT+ products. Some of the stores did have great items in stock, funny products, touching products, and products that could be personalised to suit individual couples. Etsy and Funky Pigeon came out on top with the variety of products they had on offer, while I felt let down by Tesco and Amazon. This shows there are still huge steps to be taken, but little by little, these products are appearing.

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Sub-Editor for the Wessex Scene 2016/17. English and History student

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