On Monday, GLAAD released its annual report called Accelerating Acceptance Index, which surveyed the views and attitudes of acceptance of the LGBT climate in America. GLAAD had first released this report five years ago to measure “the state of America’s hearts and minds when it comes to accepting LGBT people.” This year’s study looked at 1,970 adults over 18 years of age, 1,754 of whom did not identify as LGBTQ, and it asked them to rate their comfort levels in different everyday situations regarding LGBTQ. For example, some questions asked them to rate their comfort on a scale if they were to find out that their child was taught a lesson on LGBT history, or learned that their doctor or a family member is LGBT.
A surprising finding from this year’s and last year’s reports showed that LGBTQ comfort among young Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are actually decreasing instead of increasing. In 2016, 63 percent of respondents in this age bracket showed that they were comfortable around LGBTQ people and issues, in 2017, that number dropped to 53 percent, and in 2018 even further to only 45 percent. This is an issue in today’s society as we try to move towards more inclusiveness and acceptance. John Gerzema, the CEO of the Harris Poll, the research firm who partnered with GLAAD on the study, shared his thoughts on the findings: “We typically see in our surveys that younger Americans can be counted on to advocate for issues like gender equality, immigration and climate change.” He continued that he was shocked “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.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, the President and CEO of GLAAD offered her theory on this downward trend of acceptance, stating, “When you have a country and a culture that is normalizing hate and discrimination, you will see [people] move from an allied position to become detached supporters.” This data is not irrelevant when comparing it to the “significant increase” of discrimination and the rise in hate crimes we have seen towards the LGBTQ community. As the LGBTQ community and other marginalized ones fight for civil rights and acceptance, this information is extremely important to consider.
To see the rest of the Accelerating Acceptance report, visit the following link: glaad.org/publications/accelerating-acceptance-2019