Millennials are more likely to identify as LGBTQ and be accepting of LGBTQ people than older generations, yet overall lack of comfort with LGBTQ people remains substantial, according to a new GLAAD study.
The findings come in GLAAD’s third annual Accelerating Acceptance report, conducted for the organization by Harris Poll. Based on an online survey of 2,037 adults done in November, it was released Thursday.
It found 20 percent of Millennials — people age 18-34 — identify as LGBTQ, compared with 12 percent of Generation Xers (35-51), 7 percent of Baby Boomers (52-71), and 5 percent of Elders (72 and older). Millennials were more likely than others to use terms outside “gay/lesbian” or “man/woman” binaries, reporting they know people who identify as bisexual, queer, pansexual, or gender-fluid.
Among non-LGBTQ people, Millennials were the most likely to be allies. The study counted people as allies if they reported being very or somewhat comfortable with LGBTQ people in all situations. The figure was 63 percent for Millennials, 53 of Gen Xers, 51 percent of Baby Boomers, and 39 percent of Elders.
But progress in acceptance of LGBT people has slowed, according to the report. About two-thirds of respondents said they are generally comfortable with LGBTQ people; the proportion who said they’re somewhat or very uncomfortable remained unchanged from the 2015 numbers. The “somewhat” and “very” uncomfortable proportion had declined about 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, likely due to widespread coverage of the fight for marriage equality leading up to the Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2015.
Thirty-four percent of respondents said they would be uncomfortable learning their child had a lesson on LGBTQ history in school, and 29 percent said they were uncomfortable seeing a same-sex couple holding hands. There was about the same level of discomfort with learning their doctor, their child’s teacher, or a family member was LGBTQ.
Still, there was much good news in the study, and acceptance among young people bodes well for the future, said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “As the [Trump] administration begins to fulfill its pledges to move the country backwards, many are concerned about progress made in recent years for the LGBTQ community,” she said in a press release. “However, this report shows a remarkable new era of understanding and acceptance among young people — an inspiring indication of the future. Though laws can be unwritten, hearts and minds in America have been changed for the better — and that is a reality less easily unraveled.”
Read the full study here.