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New Study Shows Decline in LGBTQ Acceptance Among Young Americans

New Study Shows Decline in LGBTQ Acceptance Among Young Americans

By Nate Nickolai
June 25, 2019

A new study from GLAAD shows a significant decline in LGBTQ acceptance among young Americans aged 18-34.

In a national survey among U.S. adults called the Accelerating Acceptance Index, the percentage of young Americans reporting being "very" or "somewhat" comfortable with LGBTQ people across seven scenarios dropped from 53% to 45%, marking the second consecutive year that the younger age group has fallen.

However, among non-LGBTQ adults, percentages remained stable with 49% reporting being "very" or "somewhat" comfortable with LGBTQ people. The study also found, for the fourth consecutive year, that eight out of 10 people support equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community.

The Accelerating Acceptance Index was conducted online earlier this year using a national sample of 1,970 US adults, 18 or over, who were presented with seven situations. 12% of the sample identified as LGBTQ.

Scenarios for the survey included learning a family member is LGBT, learning my doctor is LGBT, having LGBT members at my place of worship, seeing an LGBT co-worker's wedding picture, having my child placed in a class with an LGBT teacher, seeing a same-sex couple holding hands and learning my child has a lesson on LGBT history in school.

The Index comes amidst a number of anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination incidents. Just last year, reported hate crimes rose 17 percent, making it the third consecutive year that such crimes increased.


LGBTQ acceptance in 'toxic' decline among young Americans: study

By Hannah Sparks
June 25, 2019

It's disappointing news for the LGBTQ community as Pride month is celebrated across the US.

An alarming new statistic from the annual Accelerating Acceptance report finds that young Americans -- generally regarded as the most socially tolerant generation -- are less comfortable with LGBTQ people than in previous years.

The survey, produced by the Harris Poll in partnership with Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), found that Americans aged 18 to 34 who say they are comfortable interacting with queer people fell from 53% in 2017 to 45% in 2018 -- even among those whom the report considers "allies" to the LGBTQ community.

This was the only age group to show a decline in overall acceptance. Women had a sharper decline, falling from 64% to 52%, compared to the 5% decrease among men, from 40 to 35%.

"We count on the narrative that young people are more progressive and tolerant," John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, tells USA Today. "These numbers are very alarming and signal a looming social crisis in discrimination."

Across all subcategories, young Americans became less comfortable with the idea of interacting with gay/lesbian, trans and nonbinary people. The percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds who felt uneasy about a family member coming out increased from 29% to 36%. Even at the clinic, where science and expertise are most valuable, young adults weren't keen on the idea of being treated by a queer doctor either, with 34% polling as uncomfortable with the situation, compared to 27% last year.

On the other hand, the oldest generation of Americans made great strides in acceptance between 2017 and 2018. For example, although adults age 72 and older were generally less accepting of the notion of LGBTQ history being taught in school, their level of discomfort actually declined from 47% to 37%. Compare that to 18- to 34-year-olds, whose uneasiness rose from 30 to 39%.

GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis says it may have to do with the fact that younger people are interacting with more LGBTQ people than older generations -- and things that they don't fully understand could be bewildering for some of them.

"This newness they are experiencing could be leading to this erosion. It's a newness that takes time for people to understand," she says. "Our job is to educate about nonconformity."

Gerzema partially blames the sometimes "toxic" social media environment, which may have encouraged a recent uptick in hate-related violence, says Ellis, whose advocacy group has counted more than 40 incidents of violence against LGBTQ since 2019 began.

It's a stark reminder that the work of queer allies is far from over.

Says Gerzema, "In this toxic age, tolerance -- even among youths -- now seems to be parsed out. Nothing today should be taken for granted."

Young Americans Are Becoming Less Comfortable With LGBTQ People, GLAAD Finds

By Curtis M. Wong
Huffington Post
Jun 24, 2019

A new survey shows that overall acceptance of LGBTQ people among young adults has dipped for the second year in a row.

Released Monday, GLAAD's 2019 Accelerating Acceptance Report asked 1,970 Americans over the age of 18 a series of questions with regard to their reactions to several different situations involving LGBTQ people. Participants were asked how they felt about seeing a same-sex couple hold hands, learning that a family member or a doctor identifies as LGBTQ and learning that their child has been placed in a class taught by an LGBTQ teacher, among other situations.

The survey ― conducted in January 2019 by The Harris Poll, a New York-based research firm ― found that non-LGBTQ adults who said they felt "very" or "somewhat" comfortable in all of those scenarios was 49%, reflecting no change from 2018. For the 18 to 34 demographic, however, that percentage fell from 53% to 45%.

As GLAAD representatives pointed out, 2019 marks the second year in a row that LGBTQ acceptance among Americans aged 18 to 34 has dropped. In 2017, that figure was at 63%. The most striking drop in acceptance appeared among young women, whose comfort level dropped from 64% last year to 52% in the newly published report.

In a statement issued Monday, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis linked the two-year decline to "divisive rhetoric both in politics and in culture."

"Last year, when we saw an erosion in LGBTQ acceptance, GLAAD doubled down on our formula for making positive culture change," she said.

Though Ellis didn't cite specifics, GLAAD has reportedly documented more than 40 incidents of anti-LGBTQ hate violence since the start of 2019. Policy setbacks, such as President Donald Trump's ban on transgender people in the military, as well as religious liberty laws that essentially allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ customers, were also likely to have an impact, she said.

"As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, LGBTQ people and allies must urgently address today's cultural crisis by being visible and vigilant," she said.

Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema felt similarly, noting that the results were at odds with younger Americans' clear support of other progressive issues like climate change and gender equality.

"We count on the narrative that young people are more progressive and tolerant," Gerzema told USA Today. "These numbers are very alarming and signal a looming social crisis in discrimination."

In an email statement, he added, "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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