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A survey has found that Latinx millennials are more likely than their peers to identify as LGBTQ.
The GenForward survey project at the University of Chicago found that 22% of Latinx millennials identified as LGBTQ, compared with 14% of African-Americans, 13% of whites, and 9% of Asian-Americans.
The organization’s study, “Millennial Attitudes on LGBT Issues: Race, Identity, and Experience,” found that millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 identified as LGBTQ at a rate of 14 percent.
“We were excited that the differences emerged. Often millennials are talked about as a monolithic or homogeneous group where everyone is more or less the same,” Vlad Medenica, a researcher on the report, told NBC News. “One of the aims of our survey is to dig a bit deeper and see how race and ethnicity shape people’s experiences. The fact that Latinx millennials are least likely to identify as straight is a reflection of how important exploring this difference is.”
LGBTQ Latinx advocates were excited at the news, including Herb Sosa, President of the Unity Coalition.
“I find it pleasantly surprising that Latinx millennials are identifying more and more as LGBTQ, especially since cultural and social norms usually indicate the other direction, so it’s a good thing,” Sosa said. “Acceptance from social media, their family and surroundings, I would hope, have a lot to do with that.”
However, the study also found that among Latinx millennials, over 60% said their racial communities perpetrated “a lot” of discrimination against LGBTQ people, compared to 53% of Asians, 43% of African-Americans, and 27% of whites.
“I think it’s unfortunate,” Sosa said of the findings. “We’ve had great strides for all LGBT communities, but it doesn’t mean we’re all equally represented.”
Glenn D. Magpantay, executive director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, said that the 9% of Asians identifying as LGBTQ could mean the study didn’t have enough outreach.
“Surveys only in English sometimes overlook large swaths of the community and can be skewed,” Magpantay cautioned. “We find that more and more Asian-Americans are coming out as LGBT and so immigrants’ rights and family acceptance have become critical LGBT-rights issues.”
GenForward’s survey did turn up one curious anomaly in its findings related to LGBTQ acceptance. Asked whether the “increasing acceptance of homosexuality in our society is causing a deterioration of morality,” 40% of straight-identifying millennials agreed. Curiously, so did 21% of LGBT-identifying respondents.
And while a large number of straight-identifying millennials believe America’s morality has decreased by accepting homosexuality, just 24% of them think that we have “gone too far in accepting people who are transgender.” Rather, 25% feel society has gotten it right in accepting trans people, while 48% think we haven’t gone far enough.
In GenForward’s conclusion to the survey they explicitly call out the contradiction between millenials’ overall support of LGBTQ people and the notion that accepting gay people has deteriorated America’s morality.
“We expect that many will see this last finding as contradicting much of the support for more liberal policies we have recorded. We know from the research on public opinion that individuals often, for some too often, hold what might be perceived as contradictory positions,” they wrote. “We would remind readers troubled by this finding that majorities of Millennials across race, ethnicity and sexual identity disagreed with this position, and believe that there is more to do in terms of supporting the equality of LGBT individuals and communities.”
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