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GLAAD: Younger Americans less accepting of LGBTQ people

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NEW YORK — GLAAD’s latest Accelerating Acceptance Index found that few Americans ages 18-34 are accepting of LGBTQ people than the last poll.

The poll was done on GLAAD’s behalf by Harris Poll. It found that while the overall percentage of Americans who were somewhat or very comfortable with LGBTQ stayed the same (48%), there was a sharp decline among younger people. The percentage went from 53% to 45%.

The Accelerating Acceptance Index was conducted online earlier this year among a national sample of 1,970 US adults, 18 or over, who were presented with seven situations that were selected by GLAAD and The Williams Institute in 2015, GLAAD said in a statement announcing the results. They include: learning a family member is LGBT, learning my doctor is LGBT, having LGBT members at my place of worship, seeing a LGBT co-worker’s wedding picture, having my child placed in a class with a LGBT teacher, seeing a same-sex couple holding hands, and learning my child has a lesson on LGBT history in school. By combining responses to these situations, the annual Index provides insight into the rate at which non-LGBTQ Americans accept LGBTQ people.

Some of the findings:

  • 38% of non-LGBTQ adults are classified as ‘detached supporters’, whose comfort levels varies across the seven scenarios. 13% are classified as ‘resisters’ and are not comfortable in any of the situations that were presented. The percentage of ‘resisters’ has been stable since the start of the Accelerating Acceptance Index.
  • 18% of respondents report knowing a transgender person; 31% know a bisexual person; 75% know a gay or lesbian person.
  • More young people ages 18-34 responded that they were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ uncomfortable in three personal scenarios including learning a family member is LGBT (36% uncomfortable in the 2019 report vs. 29% in the 2018 report); learning my doctor is LGBT (34% vs. 27%); and learning my child had a lesson on LGBT history in their school (39% vs. 30%).
  • 43% of males ages 18-34 reported that they were uncomfortable learning a family member is LGBT (up from 32% in 2018) and 42% of males ages 18-34 reported that they were uncomfortable learning their child’s teacher is LGBT (up from 37% in 2018).
  • 40% of females ages 18-34 reported that they were uncomfortable learning their child had a lesson on LGBT history in school, an increase of 13 percentage points from the previous year’s findings.
  • GLAAD and The Harris Poll found that support for equal rights is stable. The majority of non-LGBTQ Americans (80%) support equal rights for the LGBTQ community. This particular statistic has been consistent since 2016.

“Last year, when we saw an erosion in LGBTQ acceptance, GLAAD doubled down on our formula for making positive culture change,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “The sharp and quick rise in divisive rhetoric both in politics and in culture is now having a negative influence on younger Americans and coinciding with an alarming pattern of anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination. As we commemorate the 50thanniversary of the Stonewall Riots, LGBTQ people and allies must urgently address today’s cultural crisis by being visible and vigilant.”

“We typically see in our surveys that younger Americans can be counted on to advocate for issues like gender equality, immigration and climate change,” said John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll. “So it is surprising to see a notable erosion of acceptance for the LGBTQ community, which counters many of the assumptions we make about their values and beliefs. In this toxic age, tolerance––even among youth––now seems to be parsed out. Nothing today should be taken for granted.”

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