In a year when state and federal lawmakers have introduced over 100 pieces of legislation targeting LGBTQ+ people, GLAAD's Accelerating Acceptance Study provides some clarity to what many non-LGBTQ+ people believe.
The seventh annual study surveyed U.S. adults, measuring their attitudes toward LGBTQ+ people. This year, GLAAD found that more than 80 percent of non-LGBTQ+ Americans expect to become more familiar with trans and nonbinary people. Other positive results from the survey include an increase in people understanding that LGBTQ+ people are a diverse group and an increase in understanding that gender is not only female and male.
While the study did reveal those positive trends, data also shows that discussing gender identity and the many identities within the LGBTQ+ population are confusing for non-LGBTQ+ people. For instance, GLAAD found 54 percent of non-LGBTQ people believe that LGBTQ+ people made expectations about gender very complicated. Another 45 percent of respondents say that they're just confused about how to describe people in the LGBTQ+ community.
GLAAD also found a further increase in reports of discrimination. Six out of 10 LGBTQ+ people have reported being discriminated against due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, which is a 13 percent increase from 2020.
The number has been increasing for several years, according to GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. She told The Advocate that this year's study seems to fall in the middle of previous ones.
"There shows a lot of promise and progress for acceptance, especially when it comes to understanding gender and the various identities that make up our community," Ellis said.
Ellis noted the positive trends found in the study, such as the increase in non-LGBTQ+ people understanding there are a diversity of genders. Those are indicators, she said, that U.S. society is evolving and that the world is recognizing that.
"This study reveals that non-LGBTQ Americans are open to various identities within our community. And it also tells us just how important media is in humanizing our community, telling our stories, and driving acceptance," Ellis explained.
"When you think about this year, it has been one of the most anti-LGBTQ legislative sessions on record, specifically against the trans and nonbinary community. And, as we always say, these laws are trying to come up with solutions for problems that don't exist," Ellis told The Advocate. "[The laws] perpetuate a toxic climate of hate and discrimination against the community. This study peels that back and lets us see what Americans are really thinking and Americans are understanding that we are an amazing intersectional melting pot, as is our own LGBTQ community."