What you need to know
Meanwhile in homophobic Russia, a gay couple is currently in the lead in a competition to select the next stars to be featured on the company's catalogue cover.
A page in Swedish furniture retailer IKEA’s 2017 U.S. catalogue features two men — a Caucasian and an African American — cuddled up on the sofa, and comes with the caption “All homes are created equal.” A same-sex couple is also currently in the lead in a competition to select the next star couple on the cover of the company’s catalogue in Russia.
IKEA’s 2017 U.S. catalogue is inspired by “The new American dream.” According to Gay Times magazine, IKEA believes that young people today are more about “focusing on creating memories instead of just accumulating more things.”
“This forward-thinking concept includes greater diversity and representation of minorities, such as LGBT people,” GT reports.
Ogilvy, the ad agency which created this campaign, says, “There are so many different ways that Americans live — multigenerational, gay parents, etc. — that define the real portrait of the America that’s really out there.”
Meanwhile in Russia, where homophobia often has translated into vicious attacks on same-gender couples, a gay men couple posing in a living room is currently in the lead in the "Face from the Cover" competition to choose the stars who will grace the cover of its next annual catalogue.
The public can submit images and vote for their favorite image on the website.
“We at IKEA are for the many,” a spokesperson for IKEA Russia said. “We welcome anybody regardless of their age, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, marital or family status, or any other dimension of their identity.”
According to a Pew survey in 2013, only 16 percent of Russians said that homosexuality should be accepted by society (the other outlier was China, at 21 percent).
In 2013, IKEA Russia came under criticism after it removed an interview with a lesbian couple from its Family Live magazine, ostensibly in order to comply with Russia’s anti-gay “homosexual propaganda” law. The company said at the time it deleted the feature — an interview with the London-based lesbian couple Clara and Kirsty — because of “possible legal ramifications.”
IKEA’s track record isn’t all bleak, however. A 2015 Christmas commercial in Germany featured “a subtle, yet highlighted gay kiss.” And in November 2015, IKEA U.S. proudly announced it had received a perfect score of 100 percent in the 2016 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), “a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation.”
First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White