Americans suddenly say they feel awkward around those who identify as LGBTQ

January 31, 2018

For the first time in four years, a poll by GLAAD has found that fewer heterosexual Americans are comfortable with their LGBT peers.

The poll of more than 2,000 “non-LGBTQ adults” nationwide—conducted on GLAAD’s behalf by The Harris Poll and released on January 25—found that fewer than half of straight respondents (49%) reported being “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people across seven situations. This represented a significant decline from the 53% who reported being comfortable the previous year—and the first time that the Accelerating Acceptance report has shown a drop in support for the LGBTQ population.

In particular, the respondents said they felt awkward in personal situations. Indeed, this year, a substantially larger number of those polled noted that they would be uncomfortable learning that a family member is LBGTQ (30% versus 27% last year), with their child’s teacher being LGBTQ (31% versus 28%) or learning that their own doctor is LGBTQ (31% verus 28%).

Conversely, 55% of LGBTQ adults reported experiencing discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity within the past year. This number is a significant, 11-percentage-point increase from the previous poll (44%).

To combat the rising threats to LGBTQ acceptance, GLAAD has launched the GLAAD Media Institute—a training, consulting, and research venture that, the organization said, “is designed to build upon and furthers GLAAD’s successful legacy of leveraging media, business and cultural institutions to effect positive change with advocates around the world.”

Research contact: mgoodman@glaad.org

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