In the past year, acceptance of LGBT people in the United States has declined.
So says GLAAD's 2018 Accelerating Acceptance report, the findings of which were announced Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This is the fourth annual report of its kind — and, troublingly, the first to show a decrease in LGBT acceptance.
An online survey — conducted by the Harris Poll from November 16 to 20, 2017 — asked 2,160 Americans about their attitudes toward the LGBT community in seven different scenarios. The majority, 1,897, idenfied as non-LGBT.
In the prior year's report, 53 percent of Americans said they were "very" or "somewhat" comfortable with LGBT people. This year, that figure dropped to 49 percent.
This decline in support is not abstract — it hits home life. Around 27 percent of respondents said they would be uncomfortable discovering the LGBT identity of a family member, a dip from 30 percent in 2016. Likewise, 28 percent (a drop from last year's 31 percent) said they would feel uncomfortable finding out the LGBT identity of a physician or a child's teacher.
John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, called this decline "an unseen casualty of a tumultuous year."
“In a single year, we’ve seen significant declines from what had been an increasingly accepting America to one now less supportive," Harris said in a statement from a GLAAD press release. "And this lost ground of acceptance cuts across many in American society."
To fight this decline in support, GLAAD has launched the GLAAD Media Institute, which will expand the prominent media organization's efforts to work with news outlets, businesses, and institutions to advance LGBT equality worldwide. The Ariadne Getty Foundation donated $15 million to this venture.
"In the past year, there has been a swift and alarming erosion of acceptance which can only be fought by being visible and vocal," said Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD. Thanking the foundation's president, Ari Getty, Ellis added, "We will not stop until there is 100 percent LGBTQ acceptance everywhere."
"My family has long stood alongside individuals who are too often left behind as social justice progresses," said Getty. "Now more than ever we must join hands and raise our voices to combat oppression and move forward towards a world of equality, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, geography, or creed."