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LGBTQ Acceptance Declining Among Young Adults, According to Study


A GLAAD survey found non-LGBTQ people aged 18-34 less tolerant than non-LGBTQ adults as a whole.

A startling poll released by GLAAD shows LGBTQ acceptance is declining among younger Americans.

The "Accelerating Acceptance" survey of nearly 2,000 people, conducted by the Harris Poll, finds less than half of non-LGBTQ Americans aged 18-34 are comfortable with LGBTQ people and issues pertaining to them. The number dropped from 53 percent last year to 45 percent this year.

The results show a lower acceptance level of LGBTQ people among young Americans than was found among all adult Americans, which remained at 49 percent, the same as 2018 but significantly lower than the 53 percent reported in 2017.

"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," he continued.

The decrease in acceptance levels happens as the FBI reports a significant increase in hate crimes. In November, the nation's top law enforcement agency reported a 17 percent spike in hate crimes during 2017. And this year, there has been a startling rash of murders of trans women of color.

Seven situations are used to measure acceptance in the GLAAD survey, including comfort with learning a family member is LGBTQ, learning a doctor is LGBTQ, having LGBTQ members in a place of worship, seeing an LGBTQ coworker's wedding picture, having a child in a class with an LGBTQ teacher, seeing a same-sex couple holding hands, and learning a child had a lesson on LGBTQ history in school.

The survey found 49 percent of all non-LGBTQ adults were comfortable in all seven situations. About 38 percent had varying comfort levels across all scenarios, and 13 percent were not accepting in any of them.

Young people were the only demographic that showed a serious decline, led by women -- though women as a whole remain more tolerant than men. Among women aged 18-34, acceptance dropped from 64 percent last year to 52 percent this year.

The survey also found among non-LGBTQ adults, 18 percent report knowing a transgender person, 31 percent know a bisexual individual, and 75 percent know someone who is gay or lesbian.

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