Metro Weekly

“Alarming” erosion of LGBTQ acceptance in America, GLAAD study finds

After a year of Trump and Republican dominance, LGBTQ people are facing decreased acceptance and more discrimination

Credit: Ted Eytan / Flickr

A new study has found that acceptance of LGBTQ people among U.S. adults has faced a “swift and alarming erosion” in the past year.

GLAAD‘s Accelerating Acceptance report, conducted by the Harris Poll, surveyed 2,160 adults and found that less than half (49%) of non-LGBTQ adults reported being “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people.

That’s down from 53% in 2017 and the first time the figure has declined year-on-year since GLAAD started conducting the survey.

“An unseen casualty of a tumultuous year has been the LGBTQ community,” John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, said in a statement. “In a single year, we’ve seen significant declines from what had been an increasingly accepting America to one now less supportive. And this lost ground of acceptance cuts across many in American society.”

American adults are now less comfortable learning a family member is LGBTQ (up 3%), less comfortable learning their child’s teacher is LGBTQ (up 3%), and less comfortable learning their doctor is LGBTQ (also up 3%).

Discrimination is also on the rise, with 55% of LGBTQ people reporting experiencing discrimination in the last year, up 11% over the 2017 survey.

“In the past year, there has been a swift and alarming erosion of acceptance which can only be fought by being visible and vocal,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “This report puts numbers to the bias that too many LGBTQ Americans have recently experienced.”

Announcing the results at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, GLAAD committed to engaging philanthropic organizations to combat the decline in acceptance, including the launch of the GLAAD Media Institute — a training, consulting, and research venture — and funding for LGBTQ ventures and businesses, aided by a $15 million donation from the Ariadne Getty Foundation.

“This important lead gift continues Ari’s legacy of strategic philanthropy to improve the lives of countless people around the world,” Ellis said. “We will not stop until there is 100 percent LGBTQ acceptance everywhere.

“Though these results show the tide is turning against LGBTQ people, this critical lead gift will enable GLAAD to both leverage the media to change the world, and invest in the best storytelling to bring to life the importance and value of achieving 100 percent LGBTQ acceptance.”

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.