It’s no secret that the LGBTQ community has faced discrimination throughout history. And it looked like that things were getting better (to rip from Dan Savage). But the data tells a different story.
LGBT organization GLAAD recently released the results from its Accelerating Acceptance study at the World Economic Forum. GLAAD has put out this study every year since 2014 to measure attitudes towards people who identify as LGBTQ. This year’s study polled 2.1K+ people, and found that, we’re not making progress as one might reasonably expect. We’re actually backsliding.
The study found that non-LGBTQ people have become more uncomfortable in everyday situations where they might interact with members of the LGBTQ community. Situations included “having LGBT members at my place of worship” and “seeing a same-sex couple holding hands.” The percentage of respondents reporting discomfort ticked upwards at least two percentage points year-over-year (2016 vs. 2017) in each category.
Non-LGBT people are also shying away from calling themselves allies: The term dropped 2% in preference year-over-year. “Detached supporters” (defined as non-LGBT people whose comfort level depended on the situation) gained 4% in popularity.
LGBT people also reported more discrimination in 2017, leading to an 11% increase in reported harassment from 2016. It doesn’t take a genius to draw parallels between this stat and the kind of person who currently occupies the Oval Office.
Here’s where it gets interesting: Despite the decreases in the numbers of non-LGBT people reporting being comfortable around the LGBT community, the reported support for equal rights for LGBT people held steady year-over-year at 79%.
One thing that’s unclear is the methodology used: Are these results self-reported, or were respondents selected by another method? And did people lie about supporting equal rights, but tell the truth everywhere else? I’d love to know this.
This study is very disheartening. We still have a long way to go until it truly gets better.