In a recent GLAAD survey, it was noted that people ages 18-34 were less likely to be accepting of LGBTQ people than any other group and was the only group to show any decline in the matter.
It has been widely believed for some time that younger generations tend to be more accepting of the LGBTQ community than any other. So much so, in fact, that most progressive lawmakers and candidates make great strides in connecting with this group to gain voters, especially when issues on political change and equality are being discussed.
However, the tides are changing.
According to newly published GLAAD survey conducted by Harris Poll, this younger group is becoming a little less receptive to LGBTQ people and their issues. In fact, it was the only group researched that showed a decline in acceptance levels, instead of growth.
The research was conducted according to seven scenarios and the comfortability levels that people felt in relation to them. The seven areas were: finding out a family member is LGBT, viewing an LGBT co-workers wedding photo, learning your doctor is LGBT, sharing your place of worship with an LGBT, having an LGBT as your child’s teacher, finding out your child has received LGBT history lessons in school, and seeing an LGBT couple holding hands.
The study shows that 45% of people ages 18-34 were “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with all seven of these scenarios, a drop of 8% from last year. The numbers dropped even more when looking at females in particular in that age range. Last year comfort levels were at 64% and this year at only 52%.
Three personal scenarios, in particular, seem to affect this drop. It was noted that 36% of people ages 18-34 were “very” or “somewhat” uncomfortable with finding out a family member is LGBT, 34% were uncomfortable when finding out their doctor is LGBT, and 39% were uncomfortable when learning their child had a history lesson on LGBTQ.
All of these were drops of at least 7% overall.
However, the survey also found that nearly 80% of those who were not reported to be part of the LGBTQ community, was in support of equal rights.
In addition, 75% of Americans in all age groups know a lesbian or gay person, 31% know a bisexual person, and 18% know a transgender person.
GLAAD also reported that 49% of non-LGBTQ adults are “very” or “somewhat” comfortable and therefore, labeled as “allies” of the LGBTQ community in all seven scenarios. This number did not change this year. However, the year before it dropped by 4%.
To further research the why behind these drops, GLAAD led focus groups after the primary survey had been completed.
Number one on the list was the fact that young people seem to be overwhelmed with the varieties of gender identities and sexual preferences, as well as the “newness” of that knowledge into their lives, according to GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. This is not hard to imagine. As a young person steps out into the world on their own, many things are new to them, and all of them take a little getting used to before they are entirely accepted. GLAAD has concluded that the issues of the LGBTQ community are no different.
In contrast to the reduction in acceptance at the younger age level, is a growth in the older generations, which are not typically targeted by progressives but are becoming more and more supportive.